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Geelong Council pushes for funding to complete design stages of Waterworld site redevelopment

Geelong Council pushes for funding to complete design stages of Waterworld site redevelopment
September 21, 2020

City of Greater Geelong Council is set to launch a new pitch to obtain the required funding for a major redevelopment of the Waterworld site in the Geelong suburb of Norlane into a state-of-the-art wellness and preventative health precinct.

Council will also propose to re-name the existing working title of ‘Northern ARC’ to the ‘Northern Aquatic and Community Hub’. The proposed new working title is aimed at making the deliverables of the project as clear as possible.

At tonight’s meeting (Monday, 21st September), the Council will vote on a proposal to allocate an extra $800,000 for the final design stage to make the project ‘shovel ready’.

There is no change in the direction of the project itself or the plans created to date.

A report to be presented to Council on Monday night notes that government investment aimed at pandemic recovery stimulus has so far looked to shovel ready projects that can start quickly.

The proposed Council funding aims to remove every barrier to the project being positioned as a top priority for state and federal investment. It would complete the last of four design stages, meaning the project could be put out for construction tender immediately if it were to be fully funded.

Geelong Mayor Stephanie Asher advises “this redevelopment has been a priority for the Council throughout our term and we’ve said all along that we won’t give up until it’s built. The project is more important now than ever given it would both immediately stimulate Geelong’s economy, and significantly boost the community’s health and wellbeing. The proposal to be discussed on Monday night is about moving the project into shovel ready status to remove all barriers to federal and state funding.”

The redevelopment would deliver a state-of-the-art aquatic and community facility for the Geelong region in the northern suburbs, featuring:

  • A 25-metre pool, hydrotherapy pool, water play and learn to swim;
  • Gymnasium;
  • Multipurpose community hall capable of hosting 400 people;
  • Health consulting suites; and
  • Public meeting rooms.

The project has been costed at $61.6 million, with the City of Greater Geelong committing $20.6 million - its largest ever social infrastructure contribution. The Council has already invested just under $1.4 million to progress through the first three design stages - with the concepts to date, including the below fly-through video.

The City is seeking matching funding from the state and federal governments, with the COVID-19 pandemic adding further urgency to an already vitally important project for Geelong.

It’s estimated construction would directly or indirectly support 111 local jobs and inject $67 million into the local economy, helping to accelerate our region’s COVID-19 recovery.

Independent modelling has forecast the proposed facility would attract 600,000 visits per year – double that of the existing Waterworld – and deliver $111 million in preventative health benefits during its first decade in operation.

Councillor Anthony Aitken, Windermere Ward added “this critical project for Geelong and the north has taken on even greater urgency in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s Council’s number one community stimulus infrastructure project. Access to a state-of-the-art facility would encourage more people to exercise, benefitting the community’s overall physical health.

“The new community hall would be the best of its type in Geelong, offering a place for group activities and events of many different kinds – in turn creating social connections and improved mental health. Its importance as a regional facility will only increase as Geelong’s population grows – given it will eventually service large new residential areas to the city’s north and west.”

Image and video courtesy of City of Greater Geelong 

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31st August 2020 - National Sports Convention events to address the future of aquatic, recreation and sports facilities

12th August 2020 - Site chosen for Geelong’s North Bellarine pool

18th June 2020 - Consultants Otium highlight how aquatic and recreation projects stimulate local communities

9th January 2020 - Geelong pools introduce new water safety measures

17th December 2019 - New synthetic surface benefits athletes in Geelong

15th December 2019 - Geelong Council delivers $3 million funding for sport and community facility upgrades

14th October 2019 - Major events contribute $99.3 million to Geelong economy

9th June 2019 - Geelong Performing Arts Centre redevelopment gets $120 million boost

13th March 2019 - New $170 million convention and exhibition centre to be built on Geelong waterfront

21st March 2018 - Design commences on Geelong Northern ARC hub

18th February 2018 - Demise of Geelong Waterworld’s waterslides a step toward Northern ARC Health and Wellbeing Hub

12th June 2015 - City of Greater Geelong endorses Northern ARC Master Plan

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