9 February 2022

Tuggeranong ice sports centre could make Canberra the curling capital of Australia

| Max O'Driscoll
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Curling

Curling (could be) coming to Canberra … if we develop an ice sports facility in Tuggeranong. Photo: File.

As Tahli Gill and Dean Hewitt nailed Australia’s first-ever Winter Olympics win in the curling and then defeated the former champions after a positive COVID-19 result nearly brought their campaign to a sudden halt, Canberrans everywhere are inevitably thinking, “I could do that!”

While the ACT doesn’t have the resources available for curling at the moment, they might not be too far away, and those with long-held dreams of hitting the curling ice may finally have their dreams realised.

The ACT Ice Sports Federation revealed on Tuesday (8 February) that the world’s fastest-growing winter sport will be on the way to the ACT once the planned twin-sheet ice sports facility is built in Tuggeranong.

Australian Curling Federation president Kim Forge says the news is a long time coming.

“We’ve been approached a number of times over the years, and it’s only now that this has come to fruition, probably due to the development of the rink,” said Ms Forge.

“I think Canberra is in the perfect position for a new community of curlers, and we’ll be really happy to support the ACT in becoming a member of the Australian Curling Federation.”

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Canberra is home to several former curlers who represented Australia, varying in age. Many of them are interested in getting back into the sport should it arrive in Canberra.

Several factors influence the level of interest in curling within Australia. Ms Forge did say that it does seem to peak every four years with the Winter Olympics cycle.

“Originally interest was because of the ex-pat communities, particularly those with Canadian or Scottish heritage where the game is more popular,” said Ms Forge.

“Those people together have joined and figured out that curling is a good game for social communication and connections, which it is. It’s a very inclusive sport, and it’s taken off from there.”

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Melbourne and Perth are currently the most popular curling locations in Australia, with the latter growing dramatically since Curling WA was set up over five years ago.

Despite not having the facilities for curling, there is already a New South Wales Curling Association in place. The hope would be that with the ACT providing a physical home for the curlers in Tuggeranong, this could become a hub for curlers across NSW and the country, and could host national championships. Currently, Australian curlers travel to New Zealand for the national championships. It also opens the door to international events.

While the Tuggeranong ice sports centre is still awaiting confirmation from the ACT Government, ACT Ice Sports Federation President Tony Prescott was confident in their ability to deliver the sport to Canberra.

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“Even though this is curling, where they throw rocks on the ice, we’re most definitely not between a rock and a hard place on this one; with the new ice sports centre, curling is coming to Canberra,” Mr Prescott said.

“With the creation and establishment of both an ACT Curling Association and the new ice sports centre in Tuggeranong, we would expect to see greater opportunities for Canberra to host a variety of curling events, from grassroots social competition right through to the elite level.”

The ACT Ice Sports Federation plans to host curling exhibitions and development activities leading up to the construction of the Tuggeranong facility. For updates on the introduction of curling in the ACT, follow the ACT Ice Sports Federation Facebook page.

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A 20 second Google search on Cruachan the day the partnership was announced revealed a twice failed company in the Ice Rink business already. Where was the ACT Government due diligence? Also the original plans involved a local club in the financing, building and day to day running of the proposed Ice Centre. I never see this mentioned anywhere and the prospects of a local club stepping up are slim indeed. Made worse by the fact that the proposed Tuggeranong site is beyond the Woden light rail terminus. Better off using some of the AIS infrastructure that will be serviced by future light rail extensions.

One of the links below to a previous Tim Gavel article pretty much says it all.

“ In the lead up to the last ACT election in August 2016, Labor staged a media conference on the shores of Lake Tuggeranong and announced plans for a new ice sports facility as part of a pre-election promise.”

Can we potentially add the Ice Rink to about two decades of pre election Labor promises for Tuggeranong that disappear into the ether post election (before getting re-promised in the next election).

. Duplicating Athlonn Dr (or the long forgotten Sulwood Dr duplication).
. Tuggeranong bus interchange relocation.
. Kambah Shops upgrade.
. Improved public transport for Tuggeranong.
. More Tuggeranong police, firefighters and paramedics.
. Calwell indoor netball facility and more indoor and outdoor sporting facilities for Tuggeranong.

Based on the dead web links, I notice Burch and Gentlemen have removed their previous election commitments to Tuggeranong.

If there was truth in election advertising laws, the Government wouldn’t be able to promise anything other than Light Rail.

The ACT Ice Sports Federation, as a non-political, non-partisan representative orgaisation incorporated in the natonal capital, has invested considerable time and energy into the twin-sheet ice sports centre concept. We remain confident the ACT Government, including the Chief Minister and the Sports Minister who has also invested in extensive consideration of the community’s needs, will come to a decision which meets the ice sports’ needs, and especially of the grassroots participants.

I’m encouraged by the words of the ACT Ice Sports Federation. But I strongly encourage you to inform the public with reassurance when the deadlines for the Tuggeranong Ice Rink proposal keep sailing by without action.
When Ministerial media releases don’t achieve their promises in the time frames they list and when the company selected for the project has a history of complete failure in building ice rinks, then a level of public concern about the project should be expected.
The Federation needs to step up its information release and updates to the Canberra public and media. Take a leaf out Pedal Power who continually hold budget funding, project commitments and ministerial and business accountability to question. Pedal Power keep delivering for cyclists because they continually monitor the situation and keep people informed on progress.

Come on man. You’re a journalist. 15 minutes digging will show that the Tuggeranong facility will never happen, at least with the current proponent developing it.

ACT Ice Sports Federation does not share your view. We strongly believe in the proponent’s plans and objectives, and we trust you will too when they are brought to fruition.

I’m encouraged by the words of the ACT Ice Sports Federation. But I strongly encourage you to inform the public with reassurance when the deadlines for the Tuggeranong Ice Rink proposal keep sailing by without action.

When Ministerial media releases don’t achieve their promises in the time frames they list and when the company selected for the project has a history of complete failure in building ice rinks, then a level of public concern about the project should be expected.

The Federation needs to step up its information release and updates to the Canberra public and media. Take a leaf out Pedal Power who continually hold budget funding, project commitments and ministerial and business accountability to question. Pedal Power keep delivering for cyclists because they continually monitor the situation and keep people informed on progress.

What’s happened to this Ice Rink? ACT Government keeps promising a formal proposal and report, but it missed its 2020 deadline and now seems to have missed the 2021 deadline promised on the Riotact late last year.

Construction was meant to start in a few months, according to the last media report in November. But approvals and budget don’t seem to exist yet.

Government can only act on what they receive right?

Who knows bj – it seems very quiet to say the least. I’d suggest like the Adelaide proposal, there is probably an emperor with little clothes on in terms of the private provider, and its all just sitting and waiting for some miracle to come along.

Yes interestingly the company that the ACT government has entered into the partnership with to develop the ice rink proposal, hasn’t updated their webpage in years and they still mention their failed Playford SA Ice Rink that never came to fruition. A report by the Playford Council in conjunction with chartered accountants highlighted huge financial risks to ratepayers and the project fell through. This was previous to the last ACT government promise for the facility, so I presume they’ve taken all that into account.

Yvette Berry media release says a detailed proposal will be submitted to the ACT Government in early 2021. She’s gone very quiet and hasn’t seemed to chase up the proposal.

http://cruachaninvestments.com.au/main/page_about.html

I mean, this stuff isn’t hard to find right.

Only way it’ll ever happen is if Government stumps up all the capital cost for the facility, and then gets someone in to run it on a long term contract – like what happened with CISAC at Belconnen (although my understanding it is more complex then a simple operational contract and is a bit of an odd hybrid model).

Tough to find. Must have taken at least 23 seconds to google the information on the failures of another similar ice rink proposal.

Be patient. The thin ice on which we all skate will soon reveal a much thicker pad … or two … or …

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