Icehouse warms up Docklands
25 Feb 2010
By Alison Kinkade
Docklands received a much-needed boost last month with the opening of the Icehouse in the Harbour Town precinct.
To fireworks, loud music and a crowd of hundreds, Premier John Brumby officially opened Docklands’ newest attraction on Friday, February 12.
In his speech, Mr Brumby remarked at the significance of the ice-skating centre in drawing tourists and creating employment for Melbourne and Docklands.
“Docklands is a great place to live, work and invest and it is now a great place to go ice skating,” Mr Brumby said.
Harbour Town retailers have also reacted positively to the venue that will be open 364 days a year.
Harbour Town Hotel manager, Mark Bailey, said he was looking forward to the increase in business as the months progress.
“So far we’ve experienced a slight increase in business but the Icehouse is only in its first week. We’re definitely noticing more people are around at night after the shops have closed up which is good,” Mr Bailey said.
The $58 million complex, developed by ING Real Estate, features two Olympic-sized ice rinks, with seating for up to 1000 spectators, along with a winter sports training gym and medical facilities.
The centre was launched on the eve of the Vancouver Winter Olympics and will become home to the Olympic Winter Institute of Australia.
Mr Brumby said the Icehouse would translate into more and better athletes.
“If you want great athletes … you've got to have great facilities,” he said.
Icehouse general manager Darren Walls congratulated ING on getting the Icehouse off the ground, saying the facility was the last ING project to be approved internationally before funding was stopped due to the global financial crisis in 2008.
Mr Walls, who described the venue as a “world class facility”, closed his speech by saying: “Welcome to the Icehouse, please make it your house.”
Following the official proceedings and a blast of pyrotechnics, hundreds of children from various Victoria schools took to the rink to test out the ice.
Skating with the youngsters, Jules Lund, who performed in the television show Torvill and Dean’s Dancing on Ice, added the star factor element to the event.
Mr Lund said he loved the design of the venue and couldn’t wait to bring his daughter to the rink.
“I just had a baby girl three days ago and I can’t wait till she grows up a bit and I can get my baby girl out there and be one of those proud dads,” Mr Lund said.
The Icehouse, which is the largest ice skating venue in the southern hemisphere, has also achieved an Award of Excellence under the Docklands Environmentally Sensitive Design Guidelines, which is equivalent to a 5 Star Green Star rating.
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