Regional Indoor Aquatic & Leisure Centre
New funding announced
Council’s continued advocacy for funding of the Mount Barker Regional Indoor Aquatic and Leisure Centre has seen a further $5million committed by the Federal Government, through the strong support of local Federal Member, Rebecka Sharkie.
This is on top of $10million previously committed by the Government. This is a welcome boost to the project and clearly establishes the Governments support and recognition of the need for this facility in the Region. Council is continuing to work with the State Government to gain their funding support to ensure the desired stage 1 scope is delivered.
The next phase of this project will be delivering the detail design (for construction drawings), a critical stage where the design is refined and aligned with the available budget. Council will seek to secure additional grant funding as it progresses through this next phase.
Council is proposing to build a Regional Indoor Aquatic and Leisure Centre to replace Mount Barker’s ageing Mountain Pool.
The centre will deliver a state-of-the-art, modern swimming and recreation hub to meet the projected growth of our district and the wider Adelaide Hills region. The Federal Government has already committed $15 million.
To be built on Council-owned land on Bald Hills (opposite Laratinga Wetland), the centre is planned to become a key feature alongside the Regional Sports Hub and nearby Laratinga Wetland.
It will also provide an important destination that will attract people from near and far, providing an important economic boost for our region.
Concept plans have been developed for Stage 1 of the centre including:
- A 10-lane 25m competition capable lap pool
- An integrated learn to swim, leisure and children’s pool
- Fitness centre
- Meeting rooms
- Kiosk/café to service both the centre and adjacent walking trail
- Change rooms, toilets and associated amenities
- New access road and car parking
- New plant and equipment.
Stage 1 is estimated to cost $28-30 million. A draft business case has been prepared for Council to identify funding options to add to the $15 million already committed by the Federal Government.
Council is working hard to seek further external funding sources and commercial opportunities to minimise the financial impact of the project on Council and its ratepayers.
Warm water therapy pool
Council is exploring the option to include a dedicated, stand-alone warm water therapy pool as part of Stage 1 of the Regional Indoor Aquatic and Leisure Centre.
This facility would cater for a range of uses including water-based therapies, aquatic classes, and swimming lessons and recreation for people including those with disabilities or sensory conditions.
While it is Council’s preference to include a therapy pool in Stage 1, it will be dependent on a range of factors including community demand, a detailed business case, and securing necessary funds to cover increased project costs.
The Regional Indoor Aquatic and Leisure Centre has been designed as a staged development to allow for the addition of extra facilities as Mount Barker’s population grows and demand is identified.
Future stages include:
- Expanded aquatic leisure facilities (splash pad, waterslides)
- Indoor sports courts
- Expanded commercial/allied health facilities
- Outdoor 50m pool
Unfortunately due to high maintenance and running costs we will need to replace the existing Mountain Pool. This pool has served the community well for over 60 years, but as community needs change we will need a new centre to grow with our community.
The Mountain Pool site itself is not large enough to accommodate a modern aquatic centre and will be decommissioned, which will require careful planning and community input to establish how it may best serve the future needs of our community.
In late 2019, Council consulted the community on the proposed concept design layout and received an overwhelming response in support of a new indoor aquatic facility in Mount Barker. In addition to the broad support, there were many design suggestions made by community that will be considered as the design of the facility moves into a more detailed phase and as the project budget becomes clearer. The detailed design phase will be critical in refining the design and also ensuring that the facility meets community needs whilst recognising the inevitable budget constraints. Notwithstanding, a staged approach will ensure that as population growth occurs and as demand increases, future stages of the project can be delivered. A report summarising community feedback can be found below:
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