Media Release – FEASIBILITY STUDY PRESENTED ON AQUATIC CENTRE

Bundaberg Regional Council has welcomed a consultants report in the form of a feasibility study detailing a state of the art Aquatic Centre for the Bundaberg Region.

Mayor, Cr. Mal Forman said the Regional Aquatic Centre, which came with an estimated price tag of $25 million, allowed Council to maintain a focus on forward planning and development of popular community infrastructure ideas.

“However, the reality of the situation is that Council has significant expenditure currently committed on other essential major projects and is unable to allocate construction funding at this stage.”

Sports planning consultants Ross Planning were engaged to complete the feasibility study which was undertaken in several stages.

The key drivers for the feasibility study were:

  • identified community desires for water play infrastructure
  • the ageing condition of existing pools
  • forecast population growth for the region.

The consultants undertook a needs analysis as well as examining 22 sites across the region before deciding on an eight hectare site at Baldwin Gardens (a section of the old Gympie Estate) located between the Ring Road and FE Walker Street.

Cr Forman said the current pool site at Norville Park had also rated highly in the consultants assessments.

Cr Forman said the feasibility study indicates that a new facility would be a substantial investment for the ratepayers of the region, in both capital and on-going annual operational costs.

“With a construction budget of $16million for stage one and $9million for stage two, Council would need to secure significant partnership funding for the facility to be constructed.”

A cost analysis based on running and maintaining a facility that would produce several revenue streams and meet a wide range of community expectations, was developed by the consultants utilizing data from similar aquatic facilities throughout Queensland.

However, Council could expect to fund an annual operational shortfall of between $200,000 and $400,000.

Council’s Sport and Recreation portfolio spokesperson, Cr Lynne Forgan said the age of the Region’s existing swimming facilities meant it was important for Council to have the study.

“We now have a document that addresses the issues relating to the age of our existing facilities and the need for a new facility to cater to community expectation and regional growth well into the future.”

She said key features of the proposed Aquatic Centre include a 50m pool; indoor learn to swim and lap pools; lagoon with water play equipment; associated health and fitness buildings; canteen; change rooms and amenities.

Cr Forman said the finalization of the feasibility study meant Council could now progress planning and have the project “shovel ready” should funding from the State or Federal governments become available.

“I really wish to stress to the community that this document is simply the feasibility study and is in no way a commitment from Council that the construction of an Aquatic Centre is imminent.”

The full consultant’s report is available for community perusal on Council’s website. Go to www.bundaberg.qld.gov.au and look for the Aquatic Centre report icon on the front page.

ENDS

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