Council to prepare business case for new aquatic facility

Port Macquarie-Hastings

Port Macquarie-Hastings Council (PMHC) will progress to the next stage of planning for a new regional aquatic facility, after Councillors endorsed the development of a detailed business case for the complex.

Four design options were tabled at Thursday’s ordinary council meeting will form the basis of the business case report which will determine the most economically viable option to construct and operate the complex at Macquarie Park.

The new facility is set to replace the Port Macquarie Olympic Pool, which has serviced the region for more than 56 years. A timeline for construction is yet to be determined, and will be subject to future funding and development approvals.

The designs options include key elements put forward by the community, following an extensive public exhibition period last year which resulted in over 950 pieces of community correspondence.

The community noted a desire for the inclusion of a 25-metre pool, an outdoor 50-metre pool, a single access point into the facility and compliant diving and water polo components which were not part of the original design.

These new elements have now been included into the four slightly varied alterations, all of which will now proceed to a detailed business case.

PMHC Group Manager Community, Lucilla Marshall, said the key consideration at this point of the project was to understand what elements should be included in the contemporary facility.

“There has been considerable planning and forethought given to this project, which has included – and will continue to include – significant community input,” Ms Marshall said.

“While the overwhelming number of people surveyed on the proposal where excited by the facility, there was a high-volume of responses that requested we incorporate a number of new elements – which we have done.

“We are now ready to put these designs forward for the purposes of developing a business case, in order to see which option will be the most cost viable in terms of construction and operation.”

Once finalised, a business case report will be tabled at a future council meeting recommending a preferred option be endorsed for concept design and development application (DA).

Following the completion of a DA and confirmation of funding, the detailed design and construction will be able to commence.

Ms Marshall said council has allocated a funding commitment to undertake the Demand Analysis, Options Assessment, Concept Design, Business Case and prepare the Development Application, however additional funding will be required to finalise detailed design and for facility construction.

The construction costs associated with new contemporary aquatic facilities are significant and will require all funding avenues to be explored in order to achieve project completion.

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