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Aquatics in Bass Coast

In 2015 Council adopted a 10-year Bass Coast Aquatics Strategy that recommended:

  • Redevelopment of the Bass Coast Aquatic Leisure Centre as the main aquatic leisure centre to service the Shire’s largest population catchment
  • Construction of a new district aquatic leisure centre at Phillip Island that has a range of facilities to meet local and district aquatic leisure user’s needs, but also has a range of facilities that cater for the Island’s tourist and visitor markets

Otium Planning Group, were appointed to complete concept plans and a Feasibility Study into the development of the two aquatic and leisure centres. The completion and adoption of the Feasibility Study will allow Council to progress to further design based on the modelling, and to seek funding for construction of each site.

Concept Plans

Concept plans and a draft feasibility study have now been developed and each of the facilities have been specifically designed to:

  • Service the current and future populations in the area
  • Provide for the current and future predicted user markets
  • Provide for the latest industry trends
  • Ensure financial sustainable facilities
  • Ensure facilities are as environmentally sustainable as possible
Phillip Island Aquatic and Leisure Centre Concept Design
Concept design for the Phillip Island Aquatic and Leisure Centre

Have Your Say

Community consultation has begun and we are seeking your feedback. You can have your say by filling out the survey below, by providing a written submission to aquatics@basscoast.vic.gov.au or by attending one of our drop-in sessions.

There are four drop-in sessions planned - two at the Phillip Island Leisure Centre and two at the Bass Coast Aquatic and Leisure Centre.

Cowes - Phillip Island Leisure Centre, 10-12 Church Street

  • Wednesday, 23 June: 9.00am to1.00pm
  • Saturday, 26 June: 9.00am to 1.00pm

Wonthaggi - Bass Coast Aquatic and Leisure Centre, 41 Wentworth Road

  • Saturday, 19 June: 9.00am to 1.00pm
  • Wednesday, 30 June: 9.00am to 1.00pm

The consultation period has been extended and will now end on Sunday, 4 July.

Project Costs

The cost of each centre is estimated to be, bearing in mind we are in the very early stages of design:

  • Bass Coast Aquatic & Leisure Centre, depending on the option $35M - $41M
  • Phillip Island Aquatic & Leisure Centre, depending on staging, $44M - $51M*

Both facilities have been designed to attract funding from State and Federal Governments. A Funding Strategy will be completed during the initial phases of the project to detail how the facilities will be funded from both Council and governments.

*The Phillip Island Aquatic & Leisure Centre costs are higher due to the inclusion of two new highball courts and 2 new squash courts

Timelines

The anticipated timing of the project is outlined below:

StepWhatWhen
1Environmentally Sustainable Design investigationsFebruary – April 2021
2Finalise draft concept designs and Feasibility StudyMid-2021
3Conduct community and stakeholder consultationMid-2021
4Finalise the concept designs and Feasibility StudyMid-2021
5Complete Funding StrategyMid-2021
6Council adoption of concepts, Feasibility Study and Funding StrategyMid-to-late-2021
7Complete further designLate-2021
8Seek funding for constructionEarly -2022

Aquatic and leisure facilities play an important role in contributing to the health and wellbeing of our communities. They provide opportunities to engage in a physically active lifestyle and contribute to positive mental and social health outcomes. They are essential to the social fabric of communities, particularly in growth and regional areas.

From learn-to-swim classes, squad training and competitive carnivals through to exercise, rehabilitation and group fitness, research shows that aquatic facilities enhance users’ connectivity with their community, increase physical activity levels and contribute to a range of health, social, economic and productivity benefits for communities.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the current status of this project?

The purpose of this project is to develop a Feasibility Study that will guide the future design and operations of two multi-million dollar aquatics and leisure facilities to be constructed in Wonthaggi and Cowes.

The completion and approval of the Feasibility Study will then allow Bass Coast Shire Council to progress to a process of delivery through detailed design based on this modelling, and to seek funding for construction.

Otium Planning Group, with experience in the development of over 500 aquatic and leisure centres nationally and internationally, have been appointed to complete the Feasibility Study.

Will the community be able to provide input into this project?

Yes, community and stakeholder consultation will be conducted in the next few months on the planning and design completed to date, before the Feasibility Study is completed and presented to Councillors.

Why are we doing this?

Aquatic and leisure facilities play an important role in contributing to the health and wellbeing of our communities. They provide opportunities to engage in a physically active lifestyle and contribute to positive mental and social health outcomes. They are essential to the social fabric of communities, particularly in growth and regional areas.

Why do we need two pools?

In 2015 Council adopted a 10-year Bass Coast Aquatics Strategy (completed by Otium Planning Group) that combined all of the previous studies and consultation on the various aquatic leisure facilities across the shire, into a single planned and sequential strategy.

The strategy made a number of recommendations for aquatic and leisure centre development in Bass Coast Shire over the next ten years, which included:

  • Redevelop the Bass Coast Aquatic Leisure Centre as the Shires main aquatic leisure centre to service the LGA’s largest population catchment.
  • Construct a new district aquatic leisure centre at Phillip Island that has a range of facilities to meet local and district aquatic leisure user’s needs but also has a range of facilities that cater for the island’s tourist and visitor markets.

Feasibility studies have shown that primary user catchments for facilities attract customers who generally drive between 0-10min to reach their destination. Due to the size of the shire, travel times, population spread and catchment indicators, there is an identified need for two aquatic facilities to service the Bass Coast Shire.

Why does each facility only have one 25m pool in the plans?

Each centre has three separate aquatic facilities that are specifically designed for different user groups, as follows:

  • A 25m pool – provides for lap swimming, health and fitness, events, training and programs
  • A warm water, leisure, learn to swim program pool – provides for leisure activities, social groups, education and learn to swim, programs, families and infants, and therapy
  • Water play areas – provides a play space for children and families

The 25m pool at each facility is set to function as a multiuse pool. The warm water pool has the ability to change depth via a moveable platform and also to change temperatures to cater to different user groups. By designing the pools in this way we are able to reduce the environmental impact the centres have, improve the value for money and cater to a broader population of the community.

What’s proposed to be included in the Wonthaggi centre?

The future Bass Coast Aquatic and Leisure Centre is designed to be a regional facility, and is recommended to contain the following components:

  • Main competition pool with 25m x 10 lanes which is able to cater for large short course competitions and is comparative to other facilities in similar areas.
  • Warm Water/leisure/Learn to Swim Program Pool (Catering for older adults, leisure and learn to swim areas with moveable floor)
  • Water Play Unit and Splash Pad with adjoining Toddlers Pool
  • Dry and Steam Saunas
  • In-ground Spa
  • Weights Room (requires 24-hour access design)
  • Multipurpose Rooms / Function Rooms
  • Foyer, Reception, Merchandising, Café
  • Offices, Administration/Staff Rooms and Meeting Rooms
  • Change Rooms and amenities
What’s proposed to be included in the Cowes centre?

The future Phillip Island Aquatic and Leisure Centre is designed to be a district facility, and is recommended to contain the following components:

  • Main competition pool with 25m x 8 lanes which is able to cater to short course competitions and comparative to other facilities in similar areas
  • Warm Water/leisure/Learn to Swim Program Pool (Catering for older adults, leisure and learn to swim areas with moveable floor)
  • Water Play Unit and Splash Pad with adjoining Toddlers Pool
  • Covered in Water Slides and Tower
  • Dry and Steam Saunas
  • In-ground Spa
  • Weights Room (requires 24-hour access design)
  • Multipurpose Rooms / Function Rooms
  • Foyer, Reception, Merchandising, Café
  • Offices, Administration/Staff Rooms and Meeting Rooms
  • Change Rooms and amenities
Why does Phillip Island need aquatic facilities?

Through the feasibility study it was identified that an aquatic centre in Cowes would provide benefits to the local community and also to visitors. The provision of year round swimming, swim lessons, warm water exercise and recreational water activities will play an important role in contributing to the health and wellbeing of our community. Aquatic centres are essential to the social fabric of communities, particularly in growth and regional areas. Furthermore, there would be added benefits to drive tourism and create economic benefit to the Shires’ residents and business owners.

Is there a masterplan for the proposed site of the new Phillip Island Aquatic and Leisure Centre?

A masterplan for the proposed site has not been developed at this stage. There are investigations into the master planning for the proposed site, however these will not delay the progress of the Phillip Island Aquatic & Leisure Centre.

What’s the difference between the two centres?

The main differences between the proposed Wonthaggi and Cowes centres are:

  • Wonthaggi is a regional facility (servicing approx. 66% of the total shire’s population) whereas Cowes is a district facility (servicing approx. 34% of the total shire’s population).
  • Wonthaggi has a 25m 10 lane pool, whereas Cowes has a 25m 8 lane pool
  • Cowes has covered in Water Slides and Tower
  • Cowes has an indoor stadium and squash courts (Stage 2)
Why aren’t 50m pools proposed?

Long course pools (50m pools) are not recommended at either facility for the following reasons:

  • Industry benchmarking indicates that in order for 50m pools to be financially sustainable a catchment population of 70,000 to 100,000 is needed. Each catchment area for the proposed pools does not reach this threshold, nor does the catchment for the entire shire.
  • An extra two lanes added to a standard 8 lane pool caters for a further 20% more users, so this has been recommended for Wonthaggi to meet the larger catchment in this area.
  • The construction of a 50m pool would increase project costs by approximately 20% and is almost 3 times more expensive to operate than a 25m pool.
  • While a long course pool may attract some swim meets and events, regional events will be more likely to be scheduled at neighbouring Gippsland Regional Aquatic Centre due to its FINA competition compliancy and 1000 seating capacity.
  • Typically, centres do not attract more than 1-2 events per year, of which hosting is subsidised by the facility itself and entrance fees generally do not meet operational costs. Financial modelling has allowed for 4 events a year, being 2 school carnivals and 2 community club carnivals, with the centre still operating at an annual loss.
  • Increasing the size of the pool also increases the energy requirements to operate the centre, creating further negative impacts to the environment.

Each of the centres at Wonthaggi and Cowes have been specifically and uniquely designed to:

  • Service the current and future populations of the area
  • Provide for the current and future predicted user markets
  • Provide for the latest industry trends
  • Ensure they are as financially sustainable as possible
  • Ensure they are as environmentally sustainable as possible
How are we going to pay for these centres?

Both facilities have been designed to attract funding from State and Federal Governments. A Funding Strategy will be completed during the initial phases of the project to detail how the facilities will be financed though Council and both levels of government.

Will we have the same or increased use of the centre/s as we currently do? Will any of the programs currently offered change?

The operational elements of the new facilities will be arranged, in consultation with user groups, by the management company on completion of the build. Council does not determine programming, operational management and space allocation at this stage of the project. For current operational questions, please contact the YMCA directly.

Aquatic centres consume a large amount of energy, in light of Council adopting a Climate Change Action Plan, how are the centres going to be environmentally sustainable?

Council is conducting investigations into environmentally sustainable design for both centres, which will guide the next stages of design. This will ensure the facilities are as environmentally sustainable as possible through both the build and ongoing operations, in line with commitments of the Climate Change Action Plan.

What are the next steps in this project?
Will there be further community consultation opportunities once concept designs are completed?

At this stage Council are conducting community consultation early in the project to assist with the concept design. Final concept designs will have captured all the feedback, information and requirements needed to allow Council to seek funding for further design and delivery. When funding is acquired it is anticipated another round of community consultation will be conducted to seek feedback on detailed design and delivery.

How do I obtain more information or provide further feedback?

To provide feedback or request further information, please head to our website: www.basscoast.vic.gov/aquatics or email aquatics@basscoast.vic.gov.au and an officer from our Major Projects team will assist you.