Thursday, February 29, 2024

New Surf Coast pool plan swamped by Comm Games legacy

Surf Coast Shire Council has voted to downgrade the scope of a new aquatic centre project following confirmation that a community pool will remain as a legacy from hosting 2026 Commonwealth Games aquatic events.

Council says its plans for the Surf Coast Aquatic and Health Centre now include:

  • Indoor 25-metre pool;
  • One 20×10-metre indoor warm water program pool;
  • Allied health suites, program spaces, gym, café and supporting amenities.

Council had previously endorsed plans including two indoor program pools and an outdoor 25-metre pool, with the option for it to be enclosed in the future.

The new Surf Coast Aquatic and Health Centre will offer the option of year-round lap swimming and learn to swim classes in an indoor 25-metre pool.

“Council approved the previous project scope in June, well before the Commonwealth Games announcements, anticipating catering for immediate high demand for activities like learn to swim, warm water exercise and hydrotherapy,” Mayor, Liz Pattison said.

“We had factored the growth area of Armstrong Creek in as a key catchment for our centre.

“Expert industry research now indicates that use of the new Armstrong Creek facility will reduce the 10-minute drive time catchment for the Surf Coast Aquatic and Health Centre by 22%.

“This will impact the immediate high demand we anticipated would accelerate early growth.

“Shifting our scope to one program pool, with the indoor 25-metre pool better reflects our community’s projected need and demand during the next decade.”

She said the new scope also responds to community feedback from the past six months and includes potential future inclusion of a dedicated learn to swim pool and an indoor/outdoor leisure/water play area.

Council also resolved at its February meeting to underwrite the existing $3.57 million project funding shortfall to enable the project to go to tender, and will continue to seek external funding.

Council has $42.25 million in confirmed funding for the project, with an estimated additional $1 million in interest earnings on that funding to be added.

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