Ice, ice, maybe: Plans for $35m, two-storey ice rink in Canberra
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Ice, ice, maybe: Plans for $35m, two-storey ice rink in Canberra

The ACT government is looking for someone to build a $35 million double-storey ice rink in Canberra, but says it has no interest in owning or managing the proposed new facility.

The radical two-storey design is one of three options which were presented as part of a $75,000 government-commissioned report into appropriate options for new ice venues.

Canberra could get a double-storey ice rink as part of plans to build a new facility.

Canberra could get a double-storey ice rink as part of plans to build a new facility. Credit:Matt Bedford

The ice sports facility report contains cost analyses of building a double-level venue, two rinks on a single level or a one-rink scheme, with costs ranging from $22 million to $35 million.

The two-storey rink option is the most expensive, with the two rinks built on a split-level design with a second rink above and adjacent to the main rink for spectator areas.

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The government will open an expression of interest process next year to find someone to design, construct, operate and maintain the new facility.

The report does not identify a potential location, but the government's initial election promise was to build the facility in Tuggeranong.

ACT Ice Sports Federation president Tony Prescott said the report, compiled by Lockbridge, was an "early Christmas present" and said he hoped the project would move quickly.

Prescott said the preference was for a two-rink facility, either on the same level or split levels, to cater for the high demand they are experiencing at the existing 38-year-old venue in Phillip.

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"This is a really important step ... we'd prefer to be cutting a ribbon but this is a critical step for us to create the discussion with the private sector to hopefully get it done," Mr Prescott said.

"The federation has been campaigning for four years for this. We've always said it's not about getting it done tomorrow, it's about getting it right. This is the fifth campaign in 37 years, so we knew it was going to take time.

"The challenge for the current facility [in Phillip] is threefold. It's 38 years old, it's tired and it's time for a replacement; it's under-sized; and the third challenge is it's at absolute saturation point. We can't grow.

"We think only a twin-sheet [two-ice rink design] solves all of those challenges we have now."

The Canberra Brave won the Australian Ice Hockey League for the first time in 20 years this season, and the club regularly has to turn away fans because of capacity and safety issues.

Phillip Swimming and Ice Skating Centre manager John Raut.

Phillip Swimming and Ice Skating Centre manager John Raut.Credit:Dion Georgopoulos

The three designs range in capacity from 800 to 1600 people, and would require between 20,000 and 25,000 square metres of land.

"The EOI will specify that the government will consider providing some financial and/or non-financial contributions to support the establishment of the facility," the government said in a statement.

Chris Dutton is the sports editor at The Canberra Times.

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