Paddling for Pyrmont; why a new boatshed won’t mean new paddlers
- Vivien Luu
- Thursday, 1 September 2011
Plans to build a boatshed on Bank Street won’t attract more dragon boat paddlers, says business manager of Dragon Boats NSW.
Under the development application by Sydney Heritage Fleet, the proposed boatshed for 1 Bank Street will include locker rooms, shower facilities and storage for several dragon boat clubs.
But Business Manager of Dragon Boats NSW, Melanie Cantwell, believes this won’t necessarily help the sport grow in the area.
“The bigger issue at the moment is parking,” she said. “There will be so limited parking available that we probably won’t have as many people utelising the facilities.
“It’s a double-edged sword.”
But local dragon boat teams are still excited by the prospect of a boatshed.
“We don’t really have a home down there on Bank Street at the moment,” said Ian Ong, President of Naga Spirit Dragon Boat Club.
“To have an actual clubhouse… would be fantastic. I certainly think it will bring the dragon boat community together a lot more.”
If approved, the boatshed will be the second amenity built to support paddlers at Blackwattle Bay. Earlier this year, NSW Maritime constructed
a new boat ramp on the Bank Street foreshore to safely launch dragon boats and paddlers into the bay.
“From what my coaches tell me there’s been less injuries,” said Mr Ong, whose club regularly uses the ramp for training.
Mr Ong said accidents were common with the old ramp.
“One guy fell through it because he just broke through a wooden plank that was all rotten.”
But the old injuries have not deterred the Naga Spirit club, who had their first pre-season regatta late last month.
“You get a big rush out of regattas,” said Mr Ong.
Having paddled for 10 years, the silence before the race is Mr Ong’s favourite part of dragon boating.
“That’s an intense moment,” he said.
According to Mr Ong, dragon boating is a sport everybody can get involved in. Club members range from “people who come so they can get a tan on the weekend” to “people who are really competitive”.
Ms Cantwell attributes the sport’s growth to its ability to encompass a range of people.
“You can have school kids to people in their seventies,” she said. “The sport is growing hugely. It is deemed to be one of the fastest growing water sports in Australia.”
The dragon boat season kicks off later this month. For those interested in the sport, the Naga Spirit Club is holding free sessions throughout September. Sessions are Saturday morning from 9:30 – 11:30am.
For more information visit: www.nagaspirit.com.au or call: 0447 414 774.
Like this article? Register as a subscriber here. It's free! We'll keep you up to date with new stories on the site.