Negotiating the swift waters to deliver a whitewater centre of excellence takes teamwork.
That is why Redland City Council has formally invited partners on its journey to bring the Olympic-standard Redland Whitewater Centre at Birkdale to fruition.
The best way to deliver a first-class facility is to learn from others.
Through a series of Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs), Council has partnered with the City of Penrith, the International Canoe Federation and Paddle Australia, to share information and learnings to ensure the new Birkdale facility is not only designed for tomorrow’s Olympic champions but delivers a legacy for south-east Queensland, Australia and beyond.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was executed by Penrith City Council on 23 January 2023 and signed by Redland City Council on 30 January 2023.
The intent of the MOU is for the exchange of information, collaboration and partnership between both Councils in regards the existing Penrith Whitewater Stadium that was used during the Sydney 2000 Olympics and Paralympics Games and the planned Redland Whitewater Centre being delivered for the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
This legacy-first approach between Redland and Penrith city councils has them working together to promote and grow the sport of Canoe Slalom by establishing twin national centres of excellence that work in with each other, instead of competing for users.
The goal is for Australia to have these two world-class whitewater facilities come to fruition within the next five years, providing unrivalled opportunities for accessibility to the sport for all ages and abilities including staging of elite competition.
Both centres, working together, will draw future National, Oceania and World Cup events in the lead up to, and well beyond, the Brisbane 2032 Games.
Already, the NSW State Government committed to a $3.1 million investment in February this year to upgrade the Penrith Whitewater Stadium in preparation for the 2025 Canoe Slalom World Championships. Redland Whitewater Centre will work with a revitalised Penrith Whitewater Stadium to attract even more sporting competition to Australia.
The Redlands Coast facility, which will be a key component of the 62-hectare Birkdale Community Precinct, is expected to be operational and open to the public in 2027.
Redland Whitewater Centre will not be a stand-alone venue at Birkdale, but part of the broader Redland Resilience Training Centre, with a primary focus on swift-water and urban flooding rescue training while remaining accessible for paddle sport elite training and international level competition as well as to the community for recreational purposes.
The Redland Resilience Training Centre presents significant legacy opportunities as a world-class natural hazard resilience training facility for state, national and Asia Pacific emergency services personnel.
While the focus of both Penrith and now Redland venues is on the elite paddle aspects of the venue and the Olympics, the Penrith venue has proven through more than 20 years of operations, that the vast majority of its revenue (and usage demand) comes from tourism and recreational rafting opportunities.
The Redlands Coast facility seeks to bring a rafting and paddle experience to Queensland, leverage its coastal environment and support tourism.
Council is working alongside the Queensland Government and Federal Government on the delivery of this facility under the Olympic Venue Partner Agreement. The State and Federal Governments have guaranteed funding for its construction.
Redland Whitewater Centre will be one of the many community elements at the highly anticipated Birkdale Community Precinct that is being created as a world-class community asset that this generation and those to come will enjoy and cherish.
The precinct will boast Redlands Coast’s first public swimming lagoon, an adventure play area, outdoor concert and performance areas, open green parklands, a 2km running track loop, bush tucker gardens, cafes and restaurants, some 2.8km of walking tracks through nearly 40 hectares of protected bushland, tree-top walk and zipline, and a canoe launch area for accessing Tingalpa Creek.