22 April 2021
Dear Canoe Sprint Community,
A few weeks ago, the major rain event that impacted much of the east coast of Australia caused flooding of the Nepean River and the lake system around Penrith. The Sydney International Regatta Centre (SIRC) was inundated. Unfortunately, the flooding has caused a build-up of toxic algae in parts of SIRC, including the ‘field of play’. The toxins have had a negative effect on the water quality.
Paddle Australia (PA) has been monitoring the water quality testing carried out every second day by the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment. For paddlers to access the SIRC lake there is a requirement the water quality meets certain standards. The tests to date indicate the water quality needs to improve significantly before SIRC can re-open.
Obviously, the safety and wellbeing of our paddlers is our highest priority. The PA Board, staff, and the Canoe Sprint Technical Committee (Technical Committee) are also absolutely committed to exploring all options to host PA events, including the 2021 Canoe Sprint Championships (Sprint Championships). Equally, we recognise the need for certainty to allow paddlers and their families to plan their attendance.
The Technical Committee and relevant staff met last night. I can confirm the outcomes of the meeting as follows.
- The 2021 Sprint Championships event will go ahead from 19/20 to 23 May as previously planned. Cancellation or further postponement is not an option.
- Subject to the closing of borders, the event will be the 2021 PA Canoe Sprint Championships (a National event) and will include National team and squad selection as previously published.
- Given the issues with water quality at SIRC, PA is investigating alternate venues for the 2021 Sprint Championships.
The team is working through the options as quickly as possible. A final decision on the venue for the 2021 Sprint Championships will be made and communicated to you by COB this Monday 26 April at the latest.
I recommend everyone hold off any further flight or accommodation bookings. If you have already made bookings, you may wish to investigate options for changes and refunds if an alternate venue is realised.
Recently we have faced many challenges including bushfires, COVID, floods and now poor water quality! Our paddling community has demonstrated flexibility and resilience throughout. This is not about to change, although in the current circumstances, the 2021 Canoe Sprint Championships will clearly not be ‘business as usual’.
Our strong sense is that people want to get together and enjoy the challenge and camaraderie of competition. We look forward, with your help, to the 2021 Sprint Championships being a celebration of sprint paddling.
2021 PA Canoe Sprint Championships