Member update

June 21, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented us all with unprecedented challenges and difficulties.  I believe paddlers are well placed because our sport takes place outdoors, is non-contact and its is easy to maintain appropriate social distancing. It’s been great to be able to get everyone back on the water, even though we have to go home without a shower!

….and remember today is the winter solstice – those long days of summer are on their way.

Return to Play plan – including reopening the gym                                                                                                
As you are aware, we have successfully negotiated a ‘Return to Play’ plan which was approved by Yarra Council. This enabled us to re-open, initially to private boat owners and then to all members to use club equipment. We have also restarted out Paddleroos junior program – thanks, Reka. Our safety systems seem to be working quite well.

We will be opening the gym in the evening of Monday June 21st with a limit of eight participants at a time.  Please observe the safety rules displayed.

As part of our safety plan we will be conducting a deep clean of the clubhouse soon. Boats which are stored on the floor will be carefully moved, the carpet lifted and the floor vacuumed to remove the presents left by our friendly possums. If you have any objection to your boat being moved please let me know via email

Please be a responsible club member and follow the regulations.  Bring and take home your own boat cleaning equipment, use the sanitiser provided, keep your social distance, and wipe down every surface you touch

You must have your own PFD
To limit the possibility of COVID-19 cross infection the club will no longer provide PFDs to share. Members will need to have their own.  

  • club PFDs are available for members – please email to organise collection and for details on how to make a donation, or
  • order a Vakobi PFD at a discounted price through the club by completing this form

We have kept enough PFD’s for learn-to-paddle courses and the junior program.

What’s happening with the clubhouse redevelopment?
The story (saga might be more appropriate) of the clubhouse redevelopment, continues.

Stage one of the project is building a new boat storage shed on top of the bunker. This has been held up by objections to removing the structure on that concrete slab roof. The project can’t progress any further until the VCAT case is resolved.  VCAT has not been sitting during the shutdown however we are hoping for an outcome in July.

Stage two of the project is a redevelopment of the current clubhouse, the Panther Pavilion. The progress of this stage is subject to engineering and heritage assessments. The funding allocated in the 2019/2020 budget will be carried over to 2020/2021. The project remains a high priority on Yarra’s capital works program. Council has confirmed the project is in the long term budget and that funding is not the impediment to construction – it’s the processes leading up to it.

Racing to recommence soon
Good news! Now that restrictions are easing the Marathon Committee is planning a return to racing with appropriate changes to ensure safety. As you may remember Fairfield Canoe Club took the prestigious Winter Series Trophy away from us last year.  We can’t let that happen again.  

Once racing starts we will need all hands on deck, or hands on paddles to win that trophy back! Venues are yet to be finalised but put these dates into your diary now:

  • WS4 Sunday, 19th July
  • WS5 Sunday, 16th August
  • WS6, Sunday, 6th September
  • Echuca Mini, Saturday 10th October.

The Massive Murray Paddle
“The Massive Murray Paddle provides an opportunity for people to overcome challenges, whilst forming lifelong bonds. There is a cultural connection between the river, the people and the land.”

The event has been running for 51 years and is a wonderful experience and a great challenge to conquer. Some members are already planning to enter and are looking for people who are interested in making up a team to enter the relay event. Put your name on the board if you are interested.

Incentives for new coaches
Paddle Australia currently delivering the Introduction to Coaching course free of charge to PA members.  The course is designed to enable the beginner coach to gain their Introductory Coach qualification.

From now until 31 July 2020, the course fee will be waived for PA paddle club members. Plus, if all requirements are submitted to PA by 30 September 2020, members will be given 12 months free registration.

Committee Update
I am pleased to let you know that we have a new committee member to replace Geoff Baird, who retired recently. Anthony Cross is a recreational paddler who has taken up the sport to enjoy the river and parkland at his doorstep, (he lives just on the other side of the river). He is a doctor who specialises in Emergency Medicine and Intensive Care. We welcome Anthony to the committee and thank Geoff again for the wonderful work he did for the club.

Make the most of the crisp winter sunshine and get out on the water.

Stay safe everyone.
Deb, President