A renewed push is under way for the Penrith Whitewater Stadium to be used in place of Birkdale as the host venue for canoe slalom events during the 2032 Brisbane Olympics.
Pleas for a change of venue were contained in public submissions to a senate inquiry into Australia’s preparedness to host the Olympic, Paralympic and Commonwealth Games.
But Cr Rowanne McKenzie has fired back at critics, saying those declaring that the facility is doomed to fail lack “entrepreneurial vision”.
Community Aliance for Responsible Planning Redlands spokeswoman Lavinia Wood is also calling for the government to hand the hosting rights to Penrith.
Her parliamentary petition on the matter, which flags concerns about Olympic venues “financially crushing” host nations, has amassed more than 1200 signatures in two weeks.
Four senate submissions contained references to the whitewater facility proposed for the 62-hectare Birkdale Community Precinct, all of which rejected the proposal, with complaints including that it would impact the area’s environmental values and cost ratepayers “millions of dollars per year”.
There were also concerns about inadequate public transport options near the venue, conflicts with the International Olympic Committee’s policy on avoiding venue double-ups, and residents being left in the dark about long-term costs.
The state and federal governments have committed funding to build the facility at Birkdale, but Redland City Council will be responsible for its ongoing maintenance.
Ms Wood wrote in her petition that hosting rights should be handed over to the Penrith Whitewater Stadium built for the Sydney 2000 Games.
She pointed to the IOC’s New Norm policy, which encourages hosts to use existing sports infrastructure wherever possible.
Her calls come despite the state government and Redland City Council entering into a venue agreement with the IOC.
Cr McKenzie directed Ms Wood to look at a public engagement report presented to council which showed that almost 70 per cent of respondents supported the inclusion of a Recreation and Sports Hub in the BCP.
“The Redland Whitewater Centre will be purpose designed to meet community participation needs first, before being converted to a Games competition venue, thus fulfilling the sustainable policy requirements of the IOC,” she said.
“Those professing the doomed failure of the Redland Resilience Training and Whitewater Centre lack entrepreneurial vision for the Birkdale Community Precinct as a whole and have been opposed to the whitewater centre from the start.”
Peter Wear wrote in his submission to the inquiry that he could not find “a single compelling reason” why public money should be spent on a Redlands whitewater venue when the Penrith facility was “ready and waiting”.
Capalaba MP Don Brown predicted that the whitewater facility would be a hot button issue at the council election.
“Obviously there are different attitudes towards the whitewater rafting facility in our community but this is a council decision,” he said.
To view the petition, visit parliament.qld.gov.au.