FIVE national water sport associations have joined forces to lobby for a major international-standard venue to be built at Plover Cove Reservoir. In a joint submission to the Sports Development Board (SDB), the governing bodies of rowing, windsurfing, yachting, canoeing and dragon boat racing called for recreational and competition facilities to be built at Plover Cove and these objectives included in the 1996-2000 Strategic Plan. The draft Strategic Plan, which the SDB is due to finalise this month, says that the Government's planning standards currently do not include provision for water sports, although a major international venue will be built at the Shing Mun River. But the five bodies feel the needs of water sports should be further emphasised in the final Strategic Plan, which will be the territory's blueprint for sport until 2000. 'We urge that the expansion of water sports be made a major strategic development objective,' the submission said. 'Plover Cove Reservoir is Hong Kong's only large fresh water area suitable for recreational use. The 1981 Reservoir Boating Investigation, prepared by URBIS Planning Design Group and commissioned by the Government, recommended that Plover Cove Reservoir be developed for rowing, canoeing and sailing. We urge that this recommendation be endorsed in the Plan and that action be taken in the near future to create facilities for water sports at the reservoir. 'The Plan should record that the reservoir is capable of accommodating an international standard 2,000-metre course for rowing, canoeing and dragon boat racing, although for these sports the Shing Mun River Aquatic Centre proposal would provide a more suitable venue for large events.' The submission pointed out, however, that, unlike the Shing Mun River, the reservoir would be able to accommodate team racing and match racing. It also encouraged a club structure for developing the sport among youngsters so as to provide an environment where novices can train under proper and safe supervision from qualified coaches. The submission also called for a Government study to identify the many shore sites in Hong Kong which could be used for recreational water sports activities. The five bodies feel that Hong Kong has plenty of suitable shoreline to provide the population with easy access to competitive or recreational water sport facilities. The SDB will address the issues after a board meeting this week. The deadline for comments on the draft Strategic Plan was on July 31. SDB chief executive Howard Wells said he was encouraged by the submissions received, although he said it was too early to say how it would affect the final Plan.