City of Perth to investigate iconic aquatic facility project

An alternate location for an iconic, bold and contemporary aquatic facility will be investigated after the City of Perth Council last night voted against an aquatic facility as part of the redevelopment of the WACA.

The City of Perth Council last night voted unanimously not to proceed further with the aquatic facility at the WACA after receiving a business plan from independent economic advisers ACIL Allen that comprehensively evaluated the project.

In the business plan presented to Council last night, ACIL Allen estimated the WACA aquatic facility would cost ratepayers $152 million over 40 years and the annual subsidy over the Long-Term Financial Plan would require a 3 per cent increase in the rates yield each year.

ACIL Allen also identified that other Councils operating similar aquatic facilities benefited as they also earned revenue from other onsite assets within the complex such as cafes, and health and fitness centres. The City of Perth’s request for revenue sharing has not been agreed to by the WACA.

In rejecting the WACA swimming pool proposal, the Perth Council voted unanimously to request that the City of Perth prepare a business case for an alternative iconic aquatic facility.

The City of Perth reaffirmed its commitment to the Perth City Deal.

Perth Lord Mayor Basil Zempilas said he had always maintained the view that Council would only agree to a $25 million contribution to the WACA pool if it was a good deal for City of Perth ratepayers.

“This Council has an obligation to always be responsible, provide prudent financial management, accountability, transparency and put the ratepayers of the City of Perth first,” he said.

“While a function of local government is to provide amenity for its ratepayers and residents, that amenity cannot come at any cost.

“We were not convinced that the WACA aquatic facility was the best deal for our ratepayers or was the best pool that we could envisage in our City.

“The WACA pool was a bolted on as an after thought in the grand scheme of the overall WACA Ground redevelopment and a six-lane pool, wedged between the last row of the seats and a light tower at the cricket with no shade is not the best we can do for the City of Perth.

“The City of Perth would not have owned the aquatic facility at the WACA and we were also unable to negotiate revenue sharing for other services on-site such as a gym, café, retail outlets and creche.

“We want an iconic pool, one that is bold, contemporary and will be a City destination. A pool that is a point of difference, a unique user experience that will cater for the needs of our community now and into the future, and, importantly is value for money.”

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