Surf Coast Shire Council will pursue a new scope for the Surf Coast Aquatic and Health Centre in a bid to offset rapidly increasing construction costs.
The new design includes two warm water indoor pools for learn to swim, hydrotherapy and leisure and a 25 metre outdoor pool which would be future proofed so it could be enclosed at a future date.
Council resolved to continue with detailed design whilst concurrently pursuing additional funding from the state and federal governments.
Surf Coast Shire Council Mayor Cr Libby Stapleton said the new scope brought the project cost closer to the original budget of $39.25 million but the new design would still require additional funding.
“More money is needed to make this happen. Construction costs are increasing by $300,000 per month so it is important that Council acts now,” Cr Stapleton said.
“Our community expects us to be financially responsible. Equally, we’re doing all we can to deliver an aquatic and health centre because we know it’s been a long held community ambition.
“We know there are already more than 1000 children that will need a local, learn-to-swim option when the privately run Torquay swim school closes at the end of the year and this number will only increase into the future. With a growing, active and ageing community, we also know the need for health (including hydrotherapy), leisure and fitness options will continue to increase,” she said.
While preparing detailed design Council will continue to pursue government funding opportunities including the potential for the centre to serve as a Commonwealth Games training venue.
“The additional funding we may be able to secure from the state and federal governments, will determine whether the rescoped project includes a 25 metre or 50 metre outdoor pool,” said Cr Stapleton.
“The most sustainable and financially responsible option as of now is two indoor warm water pools and a 25m outdoor pool. This model is informed by the cost of construction, on-going operational costs, environmental impact and anticipated user demand.
“Gym and allied health spaces are included as they are important to the appeal of the centre as a ‘one-stop-shop’ and they generate significant income to help offset the costs of the aquatic components, which are expensive to operate.
“The latest, most environmentally friendly pools are not heated by gas, so we will also be seeking funding to make the facility fully electric,” Cr Stapleton added.
Council will review the project again no later than February next year. By then the detailed design will be completed, providing more specific costs, and Council will know whether further funding is available.
The Surf Coast Aquatic and Health Centre is funded by three levels of government:
Australian Government: $20 million
Victorian Government: $13.5 million
Surf Coast Shire Council: $5.75 million