Hobsons Bay City Council has endorsed a plan for a new accessible aquatic centre with multiple pools to make it easier for residents to be active and social.
The preliminary concept plan is for the Western Aquatic and Early Years Centre at Bruce Comben Reserve in Altona Meadows.
The project is one of the many initiatives in the Hobsons Bay Aquatic Strategy that will ensure a significant increase in the number of people who will access aquatic facilities at the western end of the city.
The Western Aquatic and Early Years Centre will have a strong focus on providing for people with a disability, specifically catering for people on the autism spectrum.
It will include an eight-lane 25m pool, learn to swim pool, aqua play splash pad, leisure water, and toddler pool; wellness centre with warm water pool, spa and sauna; gymnasium; change facilities; café with indoor and outdoor seating; offices; and carparking.
The early years zone will accommodate three and four-year-old kindergarten, and maternal and child health services.
The centre will service a population catchment of 60,000-70,000 living within 5km, including the area currently served by the Laverton Swim and Fitness Centre, which sits on McCormack Park.
The Laverton Swim and Fitness Centre will remain operational and maintained until the completion of the Western Aquatic and Early Years Centre.
Mayor of Hobsons Bay, Peter Hemphill, said it was important the city’s facilities kept up with its population.
“Our city is growing – we’ll have about 112,000 residents by 2036. The Laverton Swim and Fitness Centre has served our community well for decades, but it was not technically or financially prudent to redevelop it as a modern indoor aquatic and leisure centre,” Mr Hemphill said.
“But it goes beyond just having a place to swim laps, letting your kids splash around, or do a fitness session – this will help boost our local economy.
“It will bring people into Hobsons Bay because the new facility will be a destination of choice in the western part of our city. That means more money spent in our local businesses.
Mr Hemphill said that most importantly, the project will improve the lives of residents.
“We know that 57 per cent of Hobsons Bay residents don’t engage in enough physical activity and we have more people that sit for long periods during a weekday than the Victorian average,” Mr Hemphill said.
“Having facilities that will make being active and more social so much easier and more inviting will really help us in that fight.
“Council has committed $20 million to the Western Aquatic and Early Years Centre, but we can’t fund it alone.
“We need the State and Federal Governments to come on board and partner with us to deliver this project for our city. I urge everyone to pledge their support to show how important it is for our community.”
Deputy Mayor of Hobsons Bay and Wetlands Ward Councillor, Diana Grima, said this project will meet the needs of the city going forward.
“Community consultation told us that residents wanted an integrated aquatic and leisure centre for our city,” Ms Grima said.
“The Hobsons Bay Aquatic Strategy, endorsed by Council in 2019, will give us the facility we need and want at Bruce Comben Reserve in Altona Meadows.”
Fellow Wetlands Ward Councillor, Matt Tyler, said he was happy to see the projects moving forward.
“After adoption of the Hobsons Bay Aquatic Strategy in 2019, progressing the Western Aquatic and Early Years Centre’s preliminary concept to the consultation stage is an important next step,” Mr Tyler said.
“I’m thrilled that the concept will have a particular focus on seeking to meet the needs of people on the autism spectrum.
“In order to deliver a state-of-the-art aquatics facility Council will need external funding.
“Council has made a $20 million commitment contingent on a contribution from other levels of government. We’ve also established an aquatics reserve using proceeds from properties sold by Council.”
The Western Aquatic and Early Years Centre preliminary concept plan and the draft McCormack Park master plan will be open for a six-week community consultation period from 15 August 2022.