Brenton Best MHA officially opened the Tasmanian Canoe Club’s new shed and upgraded canoe course at the Forth River on Saturday, March 21. The canoe course facilities were decimated in a flood in August, 2007, but have been rebuilt with significant improvements that will ensure flood protection and also greatly enhance a course generally known as the best Grade 2 whitewater venue in Australia.
A large crowd, consisting of the clubs surviving founding members and paddlers of many generations, was joined on the shed’s generous deck by Sid Sidebottom MP, CEO of Australian Canoeing, Greg Doyle, and representatives from Central Coast Council, Sport and Recreation Tasmania and Canoe Tasmania.
The contribution of the Tasmanian Government, through flood relief funding and Sport and Recreation Tasmania, was acknowledged and Central Coast Council were thanked for their tremendous assistance with the rebuilding process. The hundreds of volunteer hours spent by club members in clearing up the flood debris and re-establishing the venue in time for the 2009 Australian Schools Whitewater Championships in January were also recognised.
The official opening provided the time to reflect on what can be achieved through joint effort and cooperation between many different agencies, individuals and groups when faced with the challenges of the aftermath of a natural disaster. The combined efforts also indicate the value placed on the Forth River canoe course by the wider community and by the Tasmanian Government.
Fittingly, the afternoon opening concluded with the youngsters paddling until it was dark, watched by grandparents and parents sitting on the deck enjoying the view.