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Town of Port Hedland to decommission Gratwick Aquatic Centre dive pool

Town of Port Hedland to decommission Gratwick Aquatic Centre dive pool
May 29, 2020

The Town of Port Hedland has announced that it is to decommission the Gratwick Aquatic Centre dive pool, replacing the pool with an undercover family area.

The decommission and construction works are set to be completed during the facility’s non-operational closure period of July to October 2020, ready for the summer season.

The Town of Port Hedland has been facing a range of issues as its aquatic facilities age, leading to the recent endorsement of preliminary research to commence for an aquatic facilities masterplan.

The Gratwick Aquatic Centre is approximately 50 years old while the South Hedland Aquatic Centre is around 40 years old.

The Council closed the Gratwick Aquatic Centre’s dive pool in November last year after the detection of Naegleria fowleri in the water. Tests, that indicated a positive reading to the amoeba, resulted in the closure of the entire facility.

Naegleria fowleri causes the disease primary amoebic meningoencephilatis (PAM), a brain infection which leads to the destruction of brain tissue.

At the time, pool users were advised to contact their general practitioner if they are felt unwell.

Prior to that, the Gratwick Aquatic Centre’s filtration system suffered a “catastrophic failure” in October 2018.

Commenting on the decommissioning, Port Hedland Commissioner Fred Riebeling AM JP said the works were in the interests of ratepayers and aligned with the Town’s strategic direction.

Riebeling advised “I have endorsed the decommission of the Gratwick Aquatic Centre dive pool and the construction of a family area in its place, featuring fixed tables, seating and a barbecue and food preparation area, set to be completed by late 2020.

“I understand some residents enjoyed the dive pool, however, it would cost around $1.7 million to remediate the dive pool to get it up to standard.

“The national trend is for dive pools to be confined to specialised Olympic standard aquatic facilities, due to the pools’ depth and need for significant supervision.

“Officers have determined that an additional area for social gatherings would be highly valued, better suited to community wellbeing and would not pose the safety risks of a dive pool.

“(The work) saves ratepayers around $1.3 million compared with refurbishing the dive pool to become operational.

“I have noted the fact that the Town’s aquatic facilities are towards the end of the operational life cycle. Therefore it is in the Town’s strategic interest to start investigating the pathway for an Aquatic Facilities Masterplan.

“The works will be allocated to the Town’s 2020/21 capital expenditure program, and I look forward to the family area opening to the public in late 2020, ready for the Pilbara summer.”

Image of the Gratwick Aquatic Centre courtesy of the Town of Port Hedland.

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14th May 2020 - National Aquatic Industry Safety Committee endorses new risk management guidelines for swim schools and aquatic facilities

11th May 2020 - Western Australia to allow activities with maximum of 20 participants

22nd March 2020 - Coronavirus Update: Crown Casino, Fitness Australia, LIWA Aquatics and gyms and theatres closed in the UK - 22nd March

12th February 2020 - Port Hedland to benefit from $750,000 from Community Sporting and Recreation Facilities Fund

21st January 2020 - Upgrades at Port Hedland’s Gratwick Aquatic Centre extend facility’s lifespan

19th December 2019 - Royal Life Saving WA partners with LIWA Aquatics to stress water safety vigilance over summer holidays

9th September 2019 - New International Standards aim to reduce negative impacts of recreational diving

1st September 2019 - Council masterplan aims to reshape Port Hedland’s Sporting Future

9th August 2019 - Western Australian aquatic centres report identifies industry labour shortages

26th April 2019 - Town of Port Hedland to take back management of key aquatic, recreation and sport facilities

14th February 2019 - Town of Port Hedland invites residents to shape community’s leisure future

25th October 2018 - Filtration system failure set to result in 12 month closure of Port Hedland’s Gratwick Aquatic Centre

21st September 2018 - Gratwick Aquatic Centre to stay closed for further works

13th August 2018 - Pilbara’s first Changing Places Facility opens at the South Hedland Aquatic Centre

18th January 2018 - South Hedland Aquatic Centre reopening not impacted by vandalism


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