DESIGN DEEP DIVE: Council to invite local input as Drysdale pool planning progresses

THE City of Greater Geelong will form a community reference group to help guide the design of indoor facilities at Drysdale’s new pool as it moves forward with its planning this week.

The city will develop detailed plans for stage two of the North Bellarine Aquatic Center including construction and operating costs for councilor approval during 2023.

Stakeholders including user groups, community advocates and experienced pool operators will have the chance to jump on the advisory panel and have a say, following a public expression of interest process to fill positions.

The city is anticipating a $20 million boost from whichever party wins government at this week’s state election after both Labor and Liberal have made campaign commitments, adding to a $20 million contribution from the federal government – ​​providing it with the confidence to push ahead with detailed planning .

The second stage, estimated to cost around $45 million, would include a warm water pool and leisure pool with a learn-to-swim area for children, and facilities including changing rooms, a café and kitchen, and administration facilities.

The city is not planning to contribute to construction costs but will pay for operating expenses, likely to be more than $1 million a year.

Stage two would add to the stage one project that is currently under construction at the Drysdale Sporting Precinct and includes a 50-metre lap pool, a pavilion with changing facilities and landscaping.

The first stage is officially scheduled to open mid-next year, but Bellarine Ward councilor Stephanie Asher indicated at this week’s meeting that construction was on track to finish in April.

Cr Asher said she was excited to see the project move a step closer to completion.

“The Bellarine needs and deserves a proper aquatic facility, every community does, with indoor and outdoor pools and all the associated fitness and health infrastructure and services,” she said.

“This center has the potential to fit the needs of all community users; young and old, fit and unfit, dedicated and occasional, and with a range of abilities and usage interests.

“We need a broad ranging and representative community advisory panel to help provide that perspective… representative groups, local residents, the advocacy group, and people with proven experience.”

Fellow Bellarine Ward councilor Jim Mason said he welcomed the two-party support for the project and the opportunity for community members to sit on a 12-person advisory panel.

Cr Peter Murrihy had led the council’s advocacy charge for the project for a crucial period earlier this year during his stint as mayor, and said he was pleased to see the project moving forward with planning. “It’s a really great result for council and the Bellarine.”

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