Ross Creek Reservoir becomes canoe polo court for time being

''Paddleblack'' Jed Graham bangs in a pole to secure a canoe polo goal at Ross Creek Reservoir in Dunedin. Photo by Craig Baxter.
''Paddleblack'' Jed Graham bangs in a pole to secure a canoe polo goal at Ross Creek Reservoir in Dunedin. Photo by Craig Baxter.

The swish and thwack of canoe polo may join the more natural sounds emanating from Dunedin's Ross Creek Reservoir for the next year or so, as the Otago Canoe and Kayak Club tries out a new court.

The club has permission from the Dunedin City Council to use the upper basin of Ross Creek Reservoir for polo practice.

Helping set up at the weekend, club committee member Lesley Pijpker said it was the first time the club had set up an outdoors practice court.

It usually practised at Moana Pool, but had approached the council about the reservoir after finding it difficult to rely on getting pool space.

''It's having somewhere to train and not rely on hiring the pool.''

Having that space available was especially important for club members Jed Graham and Jordan Housiaux, who played for New Zealand and were paying their own way to the world championships in France in September, she said.

Council water production manager Gerard McCombie said the council took weeks to consider the idea.

Key among the considerations had been the fact the reservoir was a drinking water supply, although not operational at the moment.

A water assessor had considered the idea and concluded any health and environmental risks could be managed.

There were several conditions the club had to stick to, including that the main reservoir not be used and, most importantly, that it had to vacate the pond once work to upgrade the reservoir dam and install a pump station was completed.

That work is expected to begin later this year.

The other factor the council had to consider was parking and access to the site. While that was deemed workable, the council would watch closely to see how it panned out, Mr McCombie said.

The club was not being charged for the use of the pond, he said.

Nor were other recreational users of the area, such as orienteering clubs or walkers.

Ms Pijpker said Mr Graham had designed the goals and helped organise their construction with the help of volunteers.

Next they would create a court using floating ropes.

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