Opinion: Water-Skiing on Lake Ginninderra

In September 2020, the Canberra Liberals went to the ACT Election with a policy of conducting a water sport trial on Canberra Lakes, namely Lake Ginninderra.

According to the City News, a water-skiing trial was conducted on Lake Ginninderra in 2012. After the trial it was decided that water-skiers training for competition could do so on Lake Ginninderra when Molonglo Reach was closed. TAMS (ACT Government) were quoted at the time as suggesting that Water ski training will only be permitted on the western arm of Lake Ginninderra, parallel to the east bank and adjacent to Diddams Close. The background on the trial including environmental considerations were published by the ACT Government in advance of public consultation.

It was reported by the Canberra Times that in response to the Liberal water sport trial policy, that the Labor Party believed it was not a priority for the Belconnen community at that time. The Labor Party went on to win the ACT Election in 2020 and the new trial did not go ahead.

With respect to further development on Lake Ginninderra, Tim the Yowie Man said in 2016 in relation to the now demolished Ginninderra House, at The Promenade on Lake Ginninderra, that the site “was recently identified in ACT Government’s 2016-2017 Land Release Program, noting that subject to a future development application it could be transformed into an entertainment precinct”. A number of people echoed similar views with the Belconnen Community Council at the time on Facebook in relation to the building’s demise.

With the above providing context, it is the opinion of the writer, that the limited water sport use of Lake Ginninderra would enhance the Lake’s usage and provide economic, social and development opportunities. A number of people at the time of the trial suggested on RiotACT, that noise and air pollution was a draw back of any such activity on Lake Ginninderra.

The writer believes that in order to obtain the maximum benefits and make the facility as open and accessible to as many Canberrans as possible, Water-Skiing in the already ACT Government approved western arm, between the Western Foreshore Park, Diddams Close Park and the Ginninderra Creek Dam Wall, not be boat-powered at all. This would therefore not compete with the existing facilities at Molonglo Reach or Lake Burrinjuck. The facility instead should be cable-driven, similar to that found in Penrith. Therefore avoiding noise and air-pollution issues.

A Cable Wakeboard and Water-Skiing area would provide construction and ongoing management employment opportunities on Lake Ginninderra. Opening times, hours and location could be regulated/controlled like other leisure activities in Canberra such as Go-Boat, eScooters and Segways, on top of existing controls in the ACT Lake Act 1976. Existing facilities including toilet amenities, beaches and boat ramps on the western arm of the Lake make this site an ideal area, as per the initial trial report findings.

As the video from a similar facility at Heuchelheimer See in Germany shows, ski/board hire, instructors, eateries, retail and other related job opportunities are possible in a community facility such as this.

The ACT Water Ski Association members use Molonglo Reach including during Winter months, so a facility on Lake Ginninderra for recreational Skiers and Wake Boarders could make economic sense for a commercial operation willing to look favourably at such a facility in Belconnen.

With the completion of Cirrus, the building of the Belconnen Arts Centre and the redevelopment of The Promenade on Emu Inlet, a Cable Wakeboard and Water-Skiing area would help in the delivery of a uniquely Lake Ginninderra specific entertainment precinct that utilises not only its central position and natural backdrop but also its existing man made facilities.