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Saturday, June 19, 2021

Designers chosen for new ACT dragon boat facility

Most dragons slither through caverns and slumber on hoards of gold. They are creatures of fire, not water. But Canberra’s dragons – or at least its dragon boaters – are different. Water is their element, and they will soon have a new home at Grevillea Park on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin.

In February, the ACT Government announced that Dragon Boat ACT would receive $400,000 towards designing the facility, which will include a boathouse, storage shed, and a spectator area.

This week, the government awarded the design contract to Cox Architecture.

“It is great to be supporting dragon boating in the ACT, which is one of Canberra’s largest water-based sports, and an increasingly popular activity for women and people of all ages,” said Yvette Berry, Minister for Sport and Recreation.

The Dragon Boat Festival will be held at the Beijing Garden, Yarralumla, on Sunday 13 June, from 10.30am to 3.30pm.

Work will begin on the design soon. Once the facility is complete, Dragon Boat ACT will be based at East Basin. The club formerly had its headquarters at the Southern Cross Yacht Club, but the expansion of the car park forced them to leave.

President John Corcoran welcomed the funding earlier this year.

“We as an organisation have been ‘couch surfing’ for 30 years; our current couch is about to be upended. The timing of this announcement makes us very happy. We look forward to offering facilities for people to come down in more comfort to enjoy the sport they love.”

Dragon Boat ACT boasts more than 600 members forming seven adult teams and three school teams. Some are keen competitors, others enjoy it as a social activity, Mr Corcoran said.

Member Sue Pidgeon said it was a very inclusive sport; it appeals to women (two-thirds of the members) and to all ages (ranging from 11 to 80). “You don’t ever stop dragon boating; you don’t retire.”

The $400,000 funding forms part of Labor’s $1.7 million election commitment for a new home for dragon boating.

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