I write to you as CEO of Triathlon NSW to provide an update on the Kurnell Triathlon. This will include an overview of the journey we have been through to date, what actions have already taken place, what challenges and barriers have been presented and where to from here. A lot has occurred since we last provided an update and we felt it timely noting a number of interested individuals and club committees have recently reached out seeking information.
In March 2021 a series of meetings were held with Sutherland Shire Council, Police and other regulatory authorities. They raised a number of concerns, primarily around the impact of the event on local residents and road safety issues, and without their support it did not look hopeful that the event would ever be held again.
As a result, Triathlon NSW launched the ‘Save the Kurnell Triathlon Sprint Series’ campaign and undertook detailed work on potential revised cycle courses. The campaign was widely and well supported by the triathlon community, including letters of support sent to Sutherland Shire Councillors from local residents, affiliated clubs around NSW, CEO’s from other states and territories and Triathlon Australia.
A further meeting was held in May 2021 with all parties following which myself and Glenn Schwarzel (TNSW President) achieved in principal support and verbal approval from Local Area Police Command and Council for the event to return using a revised cycle course centered around the National Park and with holiday period date exclusions. We felt confident that the event was back on track.
A date was subsequently agreed for a return of the Kurnell Triathlon for March 27th 2022 however our event partner, Elite Energy, were unable to deliver the event at that time due to prior commitments. An alternate Race Director was sought and thankfully, Paul Humphreys and his staff at H Events (based in Newcastle) indicated their ability and desire to step in and undertake the conduct of the event.
A site visit by Paul Humphreys and Glenn Schwarzel found that the cycle course was significantly impacted by road works and a road closure within the National Park however these road works were expected to be completed before Christmas 2021.
The other major challenge faced by TNSW and H Events was the impending commencement of the Kamay Ferry Wharves Project. Essentially a proposal to build a ferry wharf and terminal near the swim start area which included exclusion and construction zones which cut through both the intended swim and run courses. Further negotiations achieved agreement to delay the commencement of this State Significant Infrastructure project until after the conduct of the triathlon, to April 2022.
During the wharves construction the Contractor will have exclusive use of the area inside the Project Boundary for the duration of construction which is expected to take two years to complete. The attached photo shows the Project Boundary overlaid in white.
In January 2022 we were advised by Council that the road works inside the National Park had suffered construction delays which would not see the completion of the road works, and removal of the road closure, by the end of March 2022 and additionally we were advised by National Parks that they would not be able to support the event in the current circumstances. This effectively ruled out the conduct of the event on March 27th.
However, noting the critical strategic and historical importance of this event, Triathlon NSW has NOT GIVEN UP. Glenn Schwarzel and Paul Humphreys are already working through what options are available to conduct an event within the constraints of the Construction and Exclusion Zones created by the Wharves Project, having consideration for the significantly high commercial costs incurred when deploying cycle courses that use public roads and on the assumption that the National Parks roadworks will be completed before the next event window occurs in October/November 2022.
Since its inception in 1991, over 60,000 participants have enjoyed the Kurnell experience - changing their lifestyle for the better, competing in their first triathlon challenge, meeting new friends and forging lasting connections. The Kurnell Triathlon Series has been transformative for many people. It’s also a critical part of the triathlon landscape in the Greater Sydney Region and the Sutherland Shire, having supported local triathlon clubs and their members for many years.
What is clear without doubt is that the Kurnell region has changed substantially since 1991. Significant increases in population and housing, business infrastructure, sporting facilities and major changes to the regulations regarding the conduct of events that use public roads.
We will continue to work to try and return this event and remain committed to keeping you up to date with information as it occurs.
If you have any questions feel free to reach out to me personally. I can be contacted on my mobile – 0438 648 117.
- Adam Wicks.
The White line defines the Project Boundary and Exclusion zone inside those White lines.
The Yellow line shows the current Swim course in the Bay which now passes through the Exclusion Zone.
The Green line shows the current Run course which now passes through the Exclusion Zone.
The previous event parking area is also now inside the Exclusion Zone.
The Red line shows the current Cycle course, a significant portion of which will remain closed due to road works until after March 2022.