East Gippsland Shire Council officially opened its redevelopment of the Bairnsdale Aquatic and Recreation Centre (BARC) aquatics area on Saturday, June 29.
Mayor Cr Natalie O’Connell opened the new aquatics area which includes a warm water pool, interactive children’s water play area, an expanded aquatic area and upgraded all-accessible change facilities, and expanded reception and café areas.
“The improvements to the plaza area at the front of the building provides greater separation of pedestrians and cars will make the busy entrance safer for everyone,” Cr O’Connell said.
“The major work of this redevelopment has been in our pool hall, in fact, we needed to extend the building to fit in everything people want and expect from their modern indoor pool.
“The 25-metre lap pool has remained unchanged and we were able to keep it open for the majority of the project’s demolition and construction, which is a credit to the project planners and construction team.”
The upgrade to the BARC, and the introduction of a warm water pool, were key priorities in council’s East Gippsland Aquatic Strategy and the feedback received about the improvements as been very positive.
“Many members of the community advocated for a warm water pool, so I am very happy we now have one in our region and people are starting to make great use of it,” Cr O’Connell said.
The most eye-catching part of the upgrade – the children’s water play area has been designed to be suitable for children from birth up to early teens.
Attractions in this area include a ‘mega soaker’ (a bucket which holds 160 litres of water and tips every few minutes), smaller buckets, shower head features, underwater bubblers, and water cannons. It can be used to introduce children to the water, and also has features of interest to older children. Cr O’Connell said it was a highlight of the redevelopment.
The Mayor made a special mention of the community support received throughout this project at Saturday’s opening.
“It was fantastic to see our membership numbers increase while work was underway. Thank you to everyone who stuck with us during the build, and to the user groups who turned out for the official opening. Now it’s time to use the facilities to their full capacity for many years to come,” she said.
The community celebration included a free barbecue, membership promotions, prizes and giveaways, children’s games and activities, gym challenges and a free family movie (Incredibles 2) in the stadium.
Council thanked contractor Brooker Builders and their subcontractors who worked tirelessly to complete the facility, and all BARC members, user groups and individuals for their patience during the construction of the project.
Council contributed $3.62 million towards the project, with the Victorian Government providing $3 million from the Community Sports Infrastructure Fund and East Gippsland Water $10,000.
BARC facilities, classes, memberships and entry prices are all available on Council’s website, and a video of the official opening can be viewed on Council’s Facebook page and YouTube channel ‘EastGippyTV‘.