Car park ... the futsal field next to Commonwealth Avenue near Acton Park.

Car park ... the futsal field next to Commonwealth Avenue near Acton Park. Photo: Jeffrey Chan

There's not a beach within an hour and a half of Canberra.

But that hasn't stopped the ACT Government contributing $500,000 over the next two years to an international-standard beach volleyball facility.

The six-court complex at Lyneham will be constructed as part of the $2.7 million sport and recreation grants program announced on Wednesday.

An artist's impression of the proposed beach volleyball facility.

An artist's impression of the proposed beach volleyball facility.

The Lyneham beach volleyball facility has a total price tag of $750,000, with Volleyball ACT picking up the remaining quarter of a million dollars.

The ACT Government will contribute $250,000 in the 2014 and 2015 grants program towards the ambitious project.

ACT Sports Minister Andrew Barr admitted the sport wasn't the first thing associated with the territory, but hoped the new facility could help change the perception.

''You wouldn't say Canberra is synonymous with beaches and beach volleyball,'' Barr said.

''This is a good thing for the city to add to the range of sports infrastructure that we have.

''[Volleyball ACT] is very confident about the variety of different uses, from community level activities to territory wide to national and potentially international level competition.

''Let's get it built and see where we go from there.''

Canberra has had its fair share of forgettable sporting investments over the years, like the infamous futsal slab built in the 1990s in Acton.

Costing about $300,000, its main purpose now is as an overflow car park during Floriade.

Then there was the turf blunder at Canberra Stadium when the grass had to be painted green to host football games at the Sydney 2000 Olympics.

But Volleyball ACT chief executive Andrew Crozier is confident the new complex won’t be remembered as a white elephant on sand.

‘‘The feasibility study showed there’s revenue to be made from other sports,’’ Crozier said.

‘‘Beach volleyball is a niche sport and we believe it will be used by all the volleyballers, but we’re also keen to make sure of the utilisation of the complex.

‘‘We will engage with as many sports as possible.’’

Volleyball ACT has 3700 registered players, and 1200 of them play beach volleyball.

Crozier believes the new beach volleyball facility will lead to a doubling of participation numbers in five years.

Volleyball ACT will take out a loan for the majority of its $250,000 contribution towards the project.

Plans are underway to christen the beach volleyball centre with a round of the national series in January or February next year.

ACT Liberals sport spokesman Steve Doszpot criticised the decision.

“While we welcome the addition of sporting opportunities for our Canberra participants, you have to question the government’s priorities in spending half a million dollars on beach volleyball facilities,’’ Doszpot said.

‘‘The number of Canberrans participating is minimal compared to the diversity of sports that Canberrans are involved in.

‘‘It typifies the government’s lack of planning for urgent priorities that our sporting community needs addressed, such as the deterioration of community sporting grounds around Canberra.”

Mr Barr said the beach volleyball centre was the latest piece of sports investment into Lyneham, following upgrades to the national hockey centre and the tennis complex.

‘‘It provides another key anchor for that Lyneham precinct,’’ Barr said.

‘‘It’s part of an important sport and recreation hub in north Canberra.’’

A total of 56 ACT sporting organisations shared in the funding, which was increased by $330,000.

Seventy-eight applications were successful in receiving funding.

Other projects to be funded included the replacement of hockey indoor flooring for Hockey ACT ($150,000), six-man outrigger canoes for the Canberra Ice Dragons ($11,850) and tennis court refurbishments at Belconnen West Tennis Club ($26,500) and Weston Creek Tennis Club ($90,000).The beach volleyball centre is the latest piece of sports investment into Lyneham following upgrades to the national hockey centre and the tennis complex.

''It provides another key anchor for that Lyneham precinct,'' Barr said.

''It's part of an important sport and recreation hub in north Canberra.''

A total of 56 ACT sporting organisations shared in the funding, which was increased by $330,000.

Seventy-eight applications were successful in receiving funding.

Other projects to be funded included the replacement of hockey indoor flooring for Hockey ACT ($150,000), six-man outrigger canoes for the Canberra Ice Dragons ($11,850) and tennis court refurbishments at Belconnen West Tennis Club ($26,500) and Weston Creek Tennis Club ($90,000).