Olympic hopefuls who plan to paddle their way into gold medal contention could soon have the ideal facility to practice right on their doorstep.
Harefield recently played host to national ranking slalom canoeing on the weir, just below Coppermill Lock, opposite The Coy Carp pub, and there are now proposals to make it a permanent centre.
Slalom canoeing, seen recently at the Beijing Olympics, is a fast, exciting sport, where paddlers have to negotiate a course of gates, made up of poles hanging over rough water.
At the lower divisions the events are held on comparatively easy water, but as paddlers climb up the ranking, the challenges get harder and harder.
The events at Harefield were division three and four; four is the entry level to the national ranking system.
Organised by St Albans Canoe Club, the event attracted enthusiasts from all over the country including some from as far away as Teesside.
But there were also a large number of local paddlers taking part, many of whom train at Harefield.
Sharks, one of the clubs which uses Harefield, hopes to develop the site as a permanent base for slalom canoeists in the area. This would make Hillingdon the only London Borough with such a facility.
Speaking after the event, Sharks development officer, Neal Underwood, 48, said: "This site is a fantastic resource, with tremendous potential to be developed as a training centre for white water canoeing.
"St Albans has already set up permanent gates here for training, but we could do with some facilities such as changing rooms and boat storage.
"This venue has been used by some of the country's top paddlers over the years and we need now to establish it as a serious base for competitive canoeing.
"The Hillingdon Outdoor Activities Centre, in Harvil Road, provides a great starting place for people who want to learn to canoe, but we want to develop the competition side and I think we have the opportunity to establish some good long-term partnerships here."
A facility for canoeing, with access to the canal, would include changing rooms, shower facilities and toilets as well as storage for canoes and kayaks, and flood lights for the weir pool to enable year round training.
It would be self financing, generating income through running courses, membership charges, sales of canoeing equipment, and hopefully grants and sponsorship.