January 2020 President’s report

February 4, 2020

Dear Members,

It’s been a tough summer in many ways. I send my thoughts to those affected by the horrific bush fires and extreme weather conditions over the last few months.

Despite the smoke, floods and the muddy waters of the Yarra members have been out in force, keeping fit and making the most of their paddling opportunities.


Building Update

The building subcommittee has been working hard with Yarra Council to formulate a practical way forward to improve our facilities. As you will be aware, in April 2019 the Council allocated $485,000 in the current year’s budget for the design and first stage of the project. While progress has been slowed down by the planning system, we are happy with the council’s commitment to work collaboratively with us to get the best outcome, on a very difficult site. 
Here are a few facts to bring you up to date with the project;                                                                                                    

  • The Panther Pavilion (which is the name of our clubhouse building) sits on Crown Land and is owned by Yarra Council and leased to the club.  The Pavilion sits within Fairfield Park, which has its own Master Plan and heritage overlay. Parks Victoria and Melbourne Water are also stakeholders for any development in the precinct – Parks Victoria is responsible for Yarra Bend Park, which surrounds Fairfield Park, while the river and its banks, are under the control of Melbourne Water.
  • The initial funding allocation was based on a proposal, developed by Council staff in consultation with INCC, that would increase use of the council facilities by the local community. In particular, the redevelopment would establish a base for the Yarra Girl Guides who do not have a permanent base at present and create opportunities for young women from the surrounding suburbs to participate in outdoor activities in the park and on the river.
  • A collaborative group, comprising representatives from the Council, INCC and The Guides has been established and meets regularly to provide input.  The INCC committee believes the combination of a redeveloped fit-for-purpose facility and co-location with The Guides will have significant benefit for the club, including the potential to extend our programs – for members and community groups.
  • The proposal was for the project to be delivered in two stages:
    1. Construction of a shed for boat storage on the top of the concrete bunker (at the southern end of the pavilion) with a wash down area in front, and in parallel, engineering and design work for redevelopment of the pavilion.
    2. Redevelopment of the pavilion, with temporary arrangements in place to ensure the club can operate during the works. A further funding allocation will be needed for this second stage.
  • Construction of the shed has been delayed by a planning objection, which may not be resolved before a hearing at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) in May of this year. Yarra Council and the State Government are parties to this matter – the club does not have a formal role. The funding that was allocated will roll over into the next financial year if it is not spent in the 2019/2020 financial year.
  • To avoid further delay, the Council is in the process of appointing an architect to prepare two concept designs – with and without utilising the space on top of the bunker. We have been assured that the club will be actively engaged in the design process, and we anticipate involving and seeking feedback from members in the coming months as this work gets underway.
  • The development of a suitable facility for use by our club has been the subject of numerous plans and lobbying to the relevant Council by the club since the 1980s. We are confident that this is, at last, the project that has support from Councilors and senior management of the Council but also recognises that the project is complex and will require significant investment.
  • Some members may be familiar with a previous submission by the club (circa 2009) to the Council proposing a building on a site lower down near the pipe bridge, south of the amphitheatre. We recently requested a review of this as an option and it has been assessed by senior management of the Council. While the site would have advantages for paddlers, it has been ruled this out due to the risks associated with building on the river flood plain.
  • If members have any queries or input regarding the project, please contact Candice Charles treasurer@incc.org.au

Holiday program

A very successful weeklong holiday program was during the school holidays, headed up by Reka and her team of coaches. It’s great to see junior paddlers out, or in, the water.  They all looked like they were having great fun, making new friends and improving their kayaking.



Congratulations are extended to all members who competed in the Victorian Sprint Championships held at Nagambie. It’s great to see the sprint community gaining momentum.

The following members competed with many reaching the podium multiple times;

Hannah Scott, Brianna Jones, Reka Abraham, Isabella Rositano, Emily O’Rourke, Nicole Tattersall, Emma Murray, Abigail Schneeberger, Sophie Ward, Eva ben Arieh, Brendan Clarke, Ben Strmecki, David Inguanti, Campbell Rowland and Michael Wilson. Additionally, many of our other members acted as volunteers at this event and many thanks to them also. For more images from this event – check out the Paddle Victoria Sprint Facebook page. 

Marathon GP1 was also run on the same weekend at Yarrawonga with a few members enjoying the racing there.

As you will be aware, the Winter Series overall trophy was whipped out from under our noses in the last race of the season last year.  Despite having held the trophy from 2013 to 2018 a poor showing at the last event meant that Fairfield Canoe Club scored enough points to win the series.

Fairfield is already planning their strategy for this year, so we need to get organised.  I call on all INCC Yarra Paddlers to enter as many races as possible this year so we can get the trophy back to its rightful home!  There is a division and race distance suitable for every paddler, so do your bit to support our mission to bring the trophy back to INCC in 2020.

Upcoming races;

·       GP2 Saltwater Classic hosted by Footscray Canoe Club this coming Sunday, Feb 3rd

·       GP3 The Frank Harrison hosted by Mitta Mitta Canoe Club, Albury, Feb 22nd & 23rd

·       Victorian Marathon Championships, Barwon River, Geelong, Feb 29th March 1st


2020 Australian Canoe Marathon Championships

Entries are now open for the 2020 Australian Canoe Marathon Championships to be held on the Barwon in Geelong, April 16th to 19th. Many of our members are on the organizing committee, which is headed up by John Young.  We are hoping to have 350 paddlers at the event, so we want to see a big turn out from the host state and more specifically, INCC Yarra Paddlers. This year there will be a novice event which is an opportunity for novice paddlers to join with more experienced paddlers in a team event in a 3 X 1km relay. So, start training now!



Debbie Bennett,