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Cost of City of Sydney’s new Gunyama Aquatic Centre set to exceed $100 million

Cost of City of Sydney’s new Gunyama Aquatic Centre set to exceed $100 million
January 11, 2021

The City of Sydney’s Gunyama Park Aquatic and Recreation Centre, originally budgeted at $50 million when the project was approved in 2015, will have cost a reported $106 million when it opens next month.

Set to open on 1st February, the much-delayed facility has seen its costs steadily rise since its first approval by City of Sydney councillors.

Since builders CPB Contractors agreed an $84 million contract to build the facility in January 2018, costs associated with the project and the Coronavirus delay have risen sharply.

Continuing the City of Sydney’s recent history of ambitious aquatic facility designs, the design for the facility was undertaken by the team of Andrew Burges, Grimshaw and TCL, following Burges winning a City of Sydney architectural competition in 2014.

The complex features a 50 metre heated outdoor pool set within a larger, asymmetrical shaped pool inspired by ocean pools and Sydney’s beaches. It also includes a 25 metre indoor pool with moveable floor, children’s waterplay area, an indoor hydrotherapy pool, fitness centre and crèche along with an adjacent artificial turf football field and outdoor seating areas.

The first aquatic centre in Australia to hold a Green Star rating, the Centre will be implementing a number of water, energy and waste initiatives to ensure its sustainability.

These include:

• A rooftop solar panel system and cogeneration system to produce electricity to operate the complex
• Energy-efficient lighting and water-efficient equipment 
• A rainwater harvesting system 
• Building materials that reduce reliance on artificial lighting
• A design that responds to the local climate and negates any need for excessive heating and cooling systems 
• Water-sensitive landscape design

A City of Sydney spokesperson advised “many factors, including the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic, delayed completion of the project.”

With Belgravia Leisure having began its contract to operate the facility at the end of September, before Christmas the Sydney Morning Herald reported that the City will have paid more than $1 million to the contractor prior to its opening.

With the article, Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the Council unanimously approved the terms of the Centre's operating contract in 2019, which included a pre-opening period for the operator to hire and train staff, purchase and install equipment and ensure the facility was safe and ready for the public.

Council officers said almost half of the forecast budget before the scheduled opening on 1st February related to staff expenses, which involved recruiting and training 149 people.

The remainder covered marketing, chemicals, equipment purchases, plant and equipment maintenance, insurances, IT equipment and licences and a facility pre-clean.

In relation to the delays, a City of Sydney spokesperson advised “many factors, including the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic, delayed completion of the project.”

With the population in nearby suburbs rising rapidly, about 470,000 visits to the centre are forecast to be made in the first year, rising to 680,000 in the third year.

The Green Square precinct, which spans the suburbs of Beaconsfield and Zetland, and parts of Rosebery, Alexandria and Waterloo, is set to become the most densely populated part of Australia by 2030.

Click here for more information on the project.

Images: The near complete Gunyama Park Aquatic and Recreation Centre (top), its indoor 25 metre and moveable floor (middle) and the the facility's signage and artificial turf football field (below).

Article amended 6am, 11th January 2021.

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13th May 2020 - Community aquatic, recreation and sport industry alliance seeks 12-month stimulus package from Federal and state governments

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16th March 2020 - Life Floor gains growing recognition as preferred safety surface for splash pads and pool surrounds

29th January 2020 - New Gunyama Park Aquatic and Recreation Centre to be heated by cogeneration system

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12th August 2015 - Sydney’s costly affair with extravagant aquatic centres

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