A long-term plan to meet the city’s growing health and wellbeing needs moved a step closer on Tuesday night after Hobsons Bay City Council made two significant endorsements.
Council endorsed the preliminary concept plan for the Western Aquatic and Early Years Centre at Bruce Comben Reserve in Altona Meadows, and the draft McCormack Park master plan that will guide the future redevelopment of this popular reserve in Laverton.
The two projects are key pillars in the Hobsons Bay Aquatic Strategy that will ensure a significant increase in the number of people who will access aquatic facilities at the western end of the city.
The Western Aquatic and Early Years Centre will have a strong focus on providing for people with a disability, specifically catering for people on the autism spectrum.
The centre will service a population catchment of 60,000-70,000 living within 5km, including the area currently served by the Laverton Swim and Fitness Centre, which sits on McCormack Park. The Laverton Swim and Fitness Centre will remain operational and maintained until the completion of the Western Aquatic and Early Years Centre.
The Western Aquatic and Early Years Centre preliminary concept plan and the draft McCormack Park master plan will be open for a six-week community consultation period from Monday 15 August 2022. The community can provide their feedback online or attend a feedback session.
Community support needed for Western Aquatic and Early Years Centre
The preliminary concept plan for the Western Aquatic and Early Years Centre will have a strong focus on providing for people with a disability, and will include an eight-lane 25m pool, learn to swim pool, aqua play splash pad, leisure water, and toddler pool; wellness centre with warm water pool, spa and sauna; gymnasium; change facilities; café with indoor and outdoor seating; offices; and carparking. The early years zone will accommodate three- and four-year-old kindergarten, and maternal and child health services.
As it is still at the preliminary concept plan stage, residents will be able to help shape the design of the centre through a six-week consultation period starting Monday 15 August.
Council intends to contribute $20 million to the facility, contingent on funding from the other two tiers of government and is calling on the community to show its support.
People can sign up to show their support for the Western Aquatic and Early Years Centre.
New life to be breathed into McCormack Park
The beloved Laverton community park on Jennings Street has been a place for residents to relax, exercise, play and skate for years, and its reimagining would enable even more use as a place where locals can connect with nature.
After two stages of community consultation, the draft master plan was created, taking into consideration what residents already love about the area, and what their needs and wants for the park are for the future.
The draft master plan contains a dozen key features for the park, including a story telling river, water play area, viewing and climbing tower, bush trail, bridge improvements, socialising hubs, picnic facility expansion, multi-sport court, exercise hub, amphitheatre, redesigned carpark, and pathway improvements.
Mayor of Hobsons Bay, Cr Peter Hemphill, said it was important the city’s facilities kept up with its population.
“Our city is growing – we’ll have about 112,000 residents by 2036. The Laverton Swim and Fitness Centre has served our community well for decades, but it was not technically or financially prudent to redevelop it as a modern indoor aquatic and leisure centre,” Cr Hemphill said.
“Building the Western Aquatic and Early Years Centre and redeveloping McCormack Park will mean we would have two great facilities that can be enjoyed by so many more people.
“But it goes beyond just having a place to swim laps, letting your kids splash around, or do a fitness session – this will help boost our local economy. It will bring people into Hobsons Bay because the new facility will be a destination of choice in the western part of our city. That means more money spent in our local businesses.
“More importantly, it will improve the lives of our residents. We need to get people in this city moving. We know that 57 per cent of Hobsons Bay residents don’t engage in enough physical activity and we have more people that sit for long periods during a weekday than the Victorian average. Having two facilities that will make being active and more social so much easier and more inviting will really help us in that fight.
“Council has committed $20 million to the Western Aquatic and Early Years Centre, but we can’t fund it alone. We need the state and federal governments to come on board and partner with us to deliver this project for our city. I urge everyone to pledge their support to show how important it is for our community.”
Deputy Mayor of Hobsons Bay and Wetlands Ward Councillor, Diana Grima, said these were two great projects that met the needs of the the city going forward.
“Community consultation told us that residents wanted an integrated aquatic and leisure centre for our city. The Hobsons Bay Aquatic Strategy, endorsed by Council in 2019, will give us the facility we need and want at Bruce Comben Reserve in Altona Meadows, and give us a chance to make McCormack Park an even more fun and enjoyable place for the people of Laverton,” Cr Grima said.
“The draft master plan for the park’s redevelopment caters for all age groups and abilities, for fitness fanatics, nature lovers, and people who just want to relax with family and friends in their neighbourhood.”
Fellow Wetlands Ward Councillor, Matt Tyler, said he was happy to see the projects moving forward.
“After adoption of the Hobsons Bay Aquatic Strategy in 2019, progressing the Western Aquatic and Early Years Centre’s preliminary concept to the consultation stage is an important next step. I’m thrilled that the concept will have a particular focus on seeking to meet the needs of people on the autism spectrum,” Cr Tyler said.
“In order to deliver a state-of-the-art aquatics facility Council will need external funding. Council has made a $20 million commitment contingent on a contribution from other levels of government. We’ve also established an aquatics reserve using proceeds from properties sold by Council.
“For the McCormack Park draft master plan, it is community consultation that has made sure we found the right balance between creating a place that celebrates the natural environment of McCormack Park, and including places and spaces that are inclusive and cater for people of all ages.”