Belconnen may soon be home to a new gymnastics training centre and an expanded basketball stadium following an independent report into improving indoor sports facilities across Canberra.
The report, which was completed by Otium Planning Group, specifically focused on facility planning for futsal, basketball and gymnastics and identified Belconnen, Gungahlin and Woden as possible regions for expanded or new indoor sports facilities.
In figures released by the report, Basketball ACT had 8,809 active playing members in 2017 with a 21 per cent growth in the last three years, while gymnastics experienced over 60 per cent growth in the last five years with approximately 5,200 participants in the ACT.
The report said the existing courts at Belconnen Basketball Stadium are at capacity during weekdays and weekends, with Basketball ACT utilising indoor courts at a dozen other venues for training activities.
Basketball ACT indicated that the proposed timeframe to consider any future expansion to its facility would likely be four plus years away once it has improved its current financial position.
According to the report, Gymnastics ACT holds 26 to 28 competitive events across different club venues each year, proposing a state centre to host high-level training and local, regional and higher level competitions.
The report also suggested an alternative option would be the development of a new state centre at the University of Canberra, subject to the negotiation of mutually beneficial arrangements with the university.
ACT Sports Minister Yvette Berry said the ACT Government’s response to the report includes “clear and practical action”, with new futsal courts to be built at the new ‘Home of Football’ in Throsby, Gymnastics ACT to scope a new State Training Centre and Basketball ACT to consider expanding its Belconnen facility to accommodate three more courts.
“Canberra is a growing city and one of the most active in Australia,” Ms Berry said. “As our city grows we will need more indoor sporting facilities so people can continue to enjoy participating in the sports of their choice.
“The Government will also continue to investigate how to make better use of existing indoor sporting facilities at our public schools.
“Recent improvements at a number of schools across Canberra have provided around 70 additional hours per week of community access to indoor sporting facilities.”
Basketball ACT president Allan Yates said more facilities in the ACT will help unearth the next generation of Australian basketballers and was excited by the partnership with the ACT Government.
“Basketball ACT is excited to partner with the ACT Government to investigate opportunities to expand the provision of basketball facilities in Belconnen,” he said.
“As the popularity of our sport increases, the further provision of facilities will help ensure we can cater for the next generation of Opals and Boomers players.”
Gymnastics ACT chief Bradley Low said the development of a Gymnastics State Training Centre would create significant opportunities to grow their sport in Canberra and said the association is ready to work with the ACT Government to progress the preliminary planning and design requirements for the facility.