It catapulted Penrith onto the international stage during the 2000 Olympics, but the ongoing maintenance of the Sydney International Regatta Centre (SIRC) has raised eyebrows, with one local Councillor claiming it looks rundown and old.
Councillor Mark Davies said he was “shocked” and “disappointed” by the state of the venue.
“I hadn’t been out there for a long time and I was quite appalled at the condition,” he said.
“Things looked dirty, tired, old and my first impression was ‘oh wow’, I was quite shocked.”
He said the signs on approach were “ratty” and when he drove in, the area in and around the stadium was overgrown.
Cr Davies, who raised the matter during Penrith Council’s Ordinary Meeting on June 28, claimed it shouldn’t have gotten to this stage.
“I just think, it’s western Sydney, it’s a major legacy of the Olympics, it’s continually used and it’s an international destination – not just national,” Cr Davies told the Weekender following the meeting.
“It’s in our backyard and we just want to make sure it’s kept up to spec and reflects well on the region.”
An Office of Sport spokesman defended the facility, saying the NSW Government is proud of its Olympic legacy and will continue to invest in former venues.
“SIRC undergoes regular upgrades and maintenance with more than $1.5 million invested at the venue in 2020/21 for a number of projects, including upgrades to the grandstand and roads on top of a $130,000 annual maintenance budget and $60,000 cleaning budget,” he said.
“In addition, upgrades to venue signage are planned in 2021/22.
“Other major upgrades at the facility include new and upgraded pontoons, upgrades to the Presentation Pontoon and additional parking.”
Following the March floods, the SIRC was forced to suspend public recreation after sediment, bacteria and other contaminants flowed into the lakes, creating a toxic algae bloom.
“To ensure the safety of venue users, the venue was closed for water activities, reopening on June 1,” the spokesman said.
Repairs to the venue’s walking and cycling paths damaged during the floods are scheduled for completion later this month.
Alena Higgins is the Weekender’s Senior News Reporter, primarily covering courts and Council issues.