International Canoeing Federation President Thomas Konietzko believes the canoe slalom venue would have a minimal carbon footprint ©ICF

International Canoe Federation (ICF) President Thomas Konietzko has insisted that a planned canoe slalom course for Brisbane 2032 could transform the Pacific into a "global centre" for the sport.

"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," Konietzko said.

An ICF inspection group viewed the site at Redlands, south of Brisbane, which is projected as a venue for the 2032 Olympics. 

Redlands Mayor Karen Williams was on hand to explain the project.

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

"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.

"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.

"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."

Local fire services and swift water rescue groups have already begun discussions about using the venue as a training facility if it should receive the go-ahead for the Olympics.

"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 emergency rescue training, high-performance racing and recreation purposes in the lead up to the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games and beyond," Williams said.

Redlands Mayor Karen Williams, centre, explained the plans for the course to ICF officials ©ICF
Redlands Mayor Karen Williams, centre, explained the plans for the course to ICF officials ©ICF

Mayor Williams had visited the National Whitewater Centre in North Carolina during a fact-finding trip.

"Whitewater centres are best developed in partnership with others and are best used for a range of additional activities, for example, emergency rescue training," Williams explained.

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

The Mayor is also planning to contact authorities at Penrith Whitewater Stadium, canoe slalom centre for the Sydney 2000 Olympics, and scheduled to stage the 2025 ICF Canoe Slalom and Kayak Cross World Championships.

"I will be writing to Penrith 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," Williams vowed.

The ICF party visited Penrith, which last week was given a cash injection of AUD3.1 million ($2.1 million/€2.9 million/£2.6 million) to prepare for the World Championships.

"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," ICF vice-president Lluis Rabaneda said.