Sport

ACT Government: CBR Brave build case for new ice rink after indoor sports facility study

Canberra Brave chairman Peter Chamberlain has welcomed the ACT Government's report into indoor sport facilities, which has recommended ice sports investigate the commercial viability of building a new facility.

The Government will on Monday release a report into the state of indoor sports facilities in the ACT that outlines what measures can be taken to better utilise existing facilities such as schools and community halls.

The Canberra Brave are pleased with the recommendation to develop a future facility strategy.
The Canberra Brave are pleased with the recommendation to develop a future facility strategy. Photo: Rohan Thomson

One of the eight consultant recommendations is to encourage ice sports to develop a future facility strategy to take over from the aging Phillip Swimming and Ice Skating Centre, which is privately owned.

The Brave regularly play before sell-out crowds at the venue in the Australian Ice Hockey League, while it is also used by figure skating.

Chamberlain agreed with the report's strategy of developing a co-operative approach with commercial interests to investigate potential alternatives to the current facility.

"That's basically in line with what our thoughts are," Chamberlain said. "The current facility has a lifespan on it given the age of the owner and the manager and it's always been on the market.

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"There needs to be a robust business plan in place to make sure whatever is done is commercially viable and can be maintained for the highest level in the long term."

Chamberlain said the growth areas of Gungahlin and the Molonglo Valley were the best locations for a new ice rink to cater for the rise in the city's population in the next 20 years.

ACT Sports Minister Shane Rattenbury said a new ice rink would fall into the longer-term picture.

"The last discussions I've had with the ice sports community is they are canvassing options where ice sports facilities are profitable," Rattenbury said.

"That changes the equation in terms of where investment might come from and indicates the potential for the private sector to be involved."

An immediate result of the report is the government allocating $50,000 to improve community access to government school facilities this year.

Basketball, futsal, badminton and table tennis are among the sports that could benefit from school facilities being usedmore effectively.

"The key thing was to test thoroughly both the demand and the supply part of the equation," Rattenbury said.

"What the report has clearly identified is that there is scope to use the school facilities a lot better.

"We can now move quickly to improve access to those school facilities to alleviate some of the immediate pressure."

Other key aspects of the report are:

  • Gymnastics ACT should consider expansion of its current facility in Gungahlin;
  • Capital Football is encouraged to use the Coorong Building at EPIC for futsal on an interim basis; and
  • There are concerns Basketball ACT and the University of Canberra would be competing for the same catchment with Basketball ACT's expansion at Belconnen.