Published on 17 April 2024

Ready to launch

It’s the entryway to an aquatics paradise – and enjoying it is about to become a whole lot better.

Until now the Wearing Street aquatics hub, on the banks of the Onkaparinga River at Port Noarlunga, has been something of a hidden gem. But new works will make the Mid Coast jewel sparkle.

The works are being conducted in two stages. Stage 1 is underway with the construction of modern facilities to replace outdated sheds and shipping containers. The new facilities are tailored to the needs of the Onkaparinga Canoe Club, Easy Kayaks and the South Port Surf Life Saving Club (SLSC).

Stage 2 will improve the public spaces at the site. The works include expanded aquatic launch areas, new public amenities, formal parking, a prominent pavilion, trees and lawn, as well as improvements to river access.

Easy Kayaks owner, Jack, shares his enthusiasm for the project.

“Transitioning from our current setup of cramped, unpowered shipping containers to a fully insulated, powered building marks a significant milestone for us, providing a much-needed boost in comfort for both customers and staff – especially during the peak summer months,” says Jack.

And he’s particularly excited about the benefits that stage 2 will bring.

"The improvements in river access and the beautification of the surrounding area are set to provide an exceptional experience for all who visit," he said.

"I'm confident that with these developments, we're on the way to making the Wearing Street precinct a leading aquatic hub in the region. It's a win for our local community, visitors to Port Noarlunga and the region as a whole."

The upgrades were designed following extensive community consultation. The changes are designed to benefit a range of users, from the local community to canoeists and fishing enthusiasts. They will also support the Department for Education’s water safety program, which offers aquatics and water-safety training to thousands of school students every year.

This stage commenced thanks to a collective funding effort from the City of Onkaparinga, the South Australian Government and the Australian Government (through its Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program), as well as contributions from local sporting clubs, including the South Port SLSC, whose fundraising—in collaboration with Surf Life Saving SA—helped secure state government funding through the South Australian Fire and Emergency Services Commission.

Richard Olesinski OAM, Project Club Liaison Officer and past President of the South Port SLSC, expressed strong support for the redevelopment, emphasising its importance not only for the club, but the wider community.

"The Wearing Street redevelopment is crucial for the South Port SLSC as we've reached capacity at our current location," he said.

"This project will allow us to expand our membership and better serve the community. We were at a pivotal point where the successful delivery of the Wearing Street project was not just a desire but a necessity.

"The opportunity to enhance our facilities is critical for our continued ability to provide essential services to the community and to ensure the safety and wellbeing of both our members and the public.

“Every dollar we've raised towards this project shows our commitment to strengthening the service we provide.”

Looking ahead, Stage 2 of the redevelopment promises further enhancements.

Jointly funded by the City of Onkaparinga and a $1.65 million Open Space Grant from the South Australian Government, it will include expanded aquatic launch areas, new public amenities, formal parking, a large prominent pavilion overlooking the river with seating, trees, and landscaped lawned areas, as well as improvements to river access with safe paths and ramps along the riverbank zone and enhanced essential infrastructure, including a rock revetment wall with a beach area. 

Works on Stage 2 are anticipated to commence in mid-2024, with a completion date set for 2025.

For more information on the Wearing Street redevelopment, or to receive project updates, visit the project's Your Say page.

Three kayakers smile at one another on the banks of the Onkaparinga River in Port Noarlunga alongside two red-and-yellow kayaks while holding paddles.