Redland City Council explores Olympic whitewater rafting venue but aquatic centre of excellence plans scrapped

PLANS for a surf life saving aquatic centre at Cleveland have been canned but the district might get an Olympic standard whitewater rafting facility instead.

Council will do a feasibility study into a whitewater rafting and kayaking facility that could be used as a venue for a potential south-east Queensland Olympics.

It could also be used for swift water rescue emergency training.

The decision comes as Surf Life Saving Queensland abandoned plans for an aquatic centre.

SLSQ signed a memorandum of understanding with Redland City Council in October 2017 after council proposed to lure the organisation away from its South Bank headquarters as part of a $71 million rebuild of the Cleveland pool area.

The deal hinged on state and federal government funding.

Mayor Karen Williams said the funding was not approved, despite strong lobbying.

"As a result, SLSQ has advised they will not be progressing with their centre of excellence and are hence discontinuing the memorandum of understanding with council," Cr Williams said.

"This decision now means council will explore a new project that could see a whitewater rafting facility co-located with other adventure sports and aquatic training to create a larger recreational and aquatic precinct.

"This project would be a real coup for Redlands Coast and would support our reputation as a coastal destination of choice."

Cr Williams said that the council had spoken to Queensland Fire and Emergency Services about the possibility of emergency services using the facility for training, which would create a legacy for the state.

"I have also spoken with the Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation, which has a strong connection with canoeing," Cr Williams said.

SLSQ chief executive Dave Whimpey said that although the centre of excellence plans had been scrapped, the proposed facility would offer an excellent training base for lifeguards and volunteer surf lifesavers.

"SLSQ and council have a long-standing relationship that helps ensure the protection of beachgoers in the region and we are very keen for that relationship to continue," Mr Whimpey said.

Cr Williams said that consultants engaged to investigate a possible south-east Queensland Olympics had visited the Redlands to investigate its potential for a whitewater rafting and kayaking facility.

Cr Williams had also met with the International Canoe Federation and visited the Sydney Olympics whitewater rafting facility at Penrith.

"A potential visit to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics white water rafting venue is also being investigated," she said.

Cr Williams said the feasibility would look into the cost, who would pay, potential locations and adventure sports that could also be located at the facility.

She said the focus for the south-east Queensland Olympics bid was securing public transport infrastructure like the duplication of the Cleveland rail line and extending the eastern busway to Capalaba.

"This means the location for this project will need to be somewhere that helps to deliver this infrastructure that is so important for our community," Cr Williams said.

A council officer said the Cleveland pool could be used for a further eight years.