The council is still shoring up funds for the Goulburn Aquatic Centre’s $45 million upgrade ahead of a planning panel’s decision on the project.
The most significant overhaul in the complex’s more than 50-year history spans three stages. The first comprises a new 10-lane 25 metre pool, refurbishment of the existing 25m indoor pool, warm water pool, water play area, cafe, new amenities, expanded car and landscaping.
This phase was originally estimated to cost $27 million but general manager Warwick Bennett said it was now closer to $28.5m, including a hydrotherapy pool to replace the one at the Bourke Street Health Service.
“It is my opinion that the council will not install the hydrotherapy pool portion included in stage one unless the State Government, through the health portfolio, contribute to this capital cost,” he said.
Operations director Matt O’Rourke recently made a presentation to councillors in a closed briefing session on scope modifications to the overall project to reduce the expected cost. The council initially billed it as a $37m redevelopment but subsequently revised it based on more detailed design plans, construction market escalation since the first estimate was prepared and additional aspects, such as the warm water pool.
Final design for stage one is almost complete.
The council allocated $1.2m in 2017/18 and $350,000 this financial year for project scoping and full design.
“These funds will also allow (us) to obtain the necessary supporting documentation to apply for a development consent,” Mr Bennett said.
A further $21m has been set aside over the ensuing three financial years. The GM told The Post this might have to be reviewed given the stage one costs.
Mr O’Rourke says stage one is achievable with with the help of a $10m grant but stage two is money dependent and a timeframe yet to be determined.The council is applying for $10m each from the federal government’s Building Better Regions Fund and the State’s Regional Sports Infrastructure program.
Mr Bennett said the balance of funding would be sourced through low-interest loans from the State Government.
The Joint Regional Planning Panel is expected to determine the application in November. Members recently visited Goulburn as part of its assessment. Mr O’Rourke said tenders in stage one would only be called after funds and development consent were secured.
“This could be in early 2019,” he told the recent council meeting.
Meantime, the Aquatic Centre working party held its final meeting on September 10.
The group, including Christine Wright, Scott Cooper and Craig Maddren, Cr Carol James and Cr Andrew Banfield, was charged with choosing a preferred option for the upgrade.
Mayor Bob Kirk thanked them for their efforts.
“Across the last three years this group has met countless times, as well as visiting other Aquatic Centres to gain ideas,” he said.
“The design we now have is the result of this work, and shows that working parties a great solution for large projects to ensure we have a direct link to the community.”
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