A potential new canoe slalom venue earmarked for the Olympic Games Brisbane 2032 will provide a major boost for the sport in the region and an exciting facility for the local community for decades after the Olympics, International Canoe Federation President Thomas Konietzko said.

Mr Konietzko, ICF vice-president Lluis Rabaneda and ICF Secretary General Richard Pettit were among a delegation who visited the potential slalom site in Redlands, south of Brisbane, and were impressed by plans for the venue.

The ICF leadership team were provided a briefing on plans for the venue by Redlands Mayor, Karen Williams.

“We came away from these discussions impressed by what Mayor Williams and her team envisage for this venue,” Mr Konietzko said.

“It is clear that not only will this be a first-class canoe slalom venue, but it will embrace the latest cutting-edge technology to ensure a minimal carbon footprint. And it will also be designed with an eye to the future, providing the local community with a facility for relaxation and recreational opportunities for decades to come.”

Mr Konietzko said a new venue in Redlands will also have major benefits for the Asia Pacific region.

“Already in this part of the world we have three former canoe slalom Olympic venues, plus several first-class courses in countries like New Zealand and Thailand,” Mr Konietzko said.

“Redlands will slot neatly into this group, strengthening the claims of the Asia Pacific to be a global centre for our sport. The exceptional Queensland climate will make Redlands very attractive as a training and competition venue both before and after Brisbane 2032.”

Discussions have already commenced with local fire services and swift water rescue groups about potential opportunities for using the whitewater venue for training, and Cr Williams said there were many more potential partnerships.

“We are committed to working together in planning for a whitewater centre that will be part of a broader resilience training centre to cater for resilience and emergency rescue training, high-performance racing and recreation purposes in the lead up to the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games and beyond,” Cr Williams said.

“One of the key learnings from my recent fact-finding trip to the United States, which included visiting the National Whitewater Centre in North Carolina, is the importance of partnerships. Whitewater centres are best developed in partnership with others and are best used for a range of additional activities, for example, emergency rescue training.

“The North Carolina centre is the most profitable whitewater facility in the world, offering training for whitewater rafting, kayaking, canoeing, rock climbing, mountain biking and hiking.

“The Redland Whitewater Centre at Birkdale will follow this example and will be located within a precinct that will include Redlands Coast’s first public swimming lagoon, outdoor concert areas, bush tucker gardens, bush trails and walks, and a running and cycling loop circuit.

“The precinct will deliver plenty of fun activities for families while earning an international reputation for emergency training and high adrenaline water sports.”

The visit to Queensland capped of a week of high-level meetings in Australia for the ICF leadership team, which include a visit to Penrith Whitewater Stadium, the venue for canoe slalom at the Sydney Olympics and the host for the 2025 ICF Canoe Slalom and Kayak Cross World Championships.

“It has been a very successful week for all of us, and an opportunity to remind ourselves how important a well planned and well managed Olympic venue can be for a local community,” Mr Rabaneda said.

“What we saw in Penrith, and what we heard and saw planned for Brisbane, gives us confidence that the future of canoe slalom and kayak cross in this region is in good hands. We also received a briefing on options for a canoe sprint venue in Brisbane, which has lots of exciting possibilities.”

Mayor Williams said the announcement this week of new money for an upgrade to the Penrith Whitewater Stadium, the venue for canoe slalom at the Sydney Olympics, will also have a flow on benefit for Redlands.

“I will be writing to Penrith to not only congratulate them, but more importantly to arrange a discussion in the near future so we can start exchanging information as well as exploring training opportunities that will deliver significant tourism and economic benefits to both cities,” she said.

“It is exciting that we are working together to see two world-class Australian whitewater facilities come to fruition within the next decade, providing unrivalled opportunities for accessibility to this sport for all ages and abilities, including staging of elite competition, in the lead up to the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

ICF Redlands visit 2023

Canoe Slalom
Kayak Cross
#ICFcanoeslalom #ICFkayakcross