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Northern Sports and Aquatic Centre

Northern Sports and Aquatic Centre is the future indoor and outdoor aquatic, leisure and sports facility, to be located on Plenty Road, Mernda.

Location

Northern Sports and Aquatic Centre (previously Mernda Sports Hub) is planned for a site on Plenty Road in Mernda, to the north of Bridge Inn Road.

The site was identified in the Mernda Strategy Plan, which then informed the development of the Mernda Regional Recreation Reserve Master Plan. 

What's happening?

At the Council meeting on 6 December 2021, Council approved the expected scope of the major leisure, aquatic and sports court facility at Northern Sports and Aquatic Centre

The state-of-the-art centre is expected to include:

  • four pools including a 50-metre multipurpose pool, a warm water exercise pool, a learn-to-swim pool and a children’s leisure pool
  • a regional netball complex with six indoor sports courts and eight outdoor netball courts
  • a gym
  • a group fitness area
  • spa and sauna
  • health and wellbeing consulting suites
  • an occasional care facility.

A review of the master plan will be undertaken in 2022, which will inform provision of outdoor sporting facilities (ovals, pavilion, change facilities, etc), passive recreation infrastructure (walking paths, etc) and landscaping.

Background

Community consultation was undertaken in 2017 and 2020 to ensure that the facility will suitably reflect the various health and wellbeing needs of our diverse community. 

The most recent consultation in 2020 showed that residents value the inclusion of lap swimming, warm water exercise, water play and learn-to-swim areas in the facility, as well as indoor and outdoor sports courts. 

Council has explored options that prioritise and balance all of these elements, which included a comparative feasibility analysis of two options - a 50m lap pool with wellbeing features and a 25m lap pool with wellbeing features. The results were presented to Council in December 2021. This process provided the evidence required for a comprehensive business case to now be developed that balances costs with community health and wellbeing needs. 

Timelines

Construction is anticipated to start by 2025.

We understand residents are eager to get construction of this facility underway. When planning for a multi-million-dollar facility like this it’s critical that we get the concept right and that it’s reflective of best-practice leisure principles and community health needs, while also ensuring it has local economic benefit.

The pre-construction phase of this project will include the preparation of a detailed business case, advocating for external funding, concept planning, consultation, detailed design and more.

How much will it cost?

Initial estimates, based on the expected scope approved at the December 2021 Council Meeting, indicate an approximate cost of $113 million. 

Council will prepare a detailed business case for the Mernda aquatic, leisure and sports court facility to help guide the development of the centre, including the anticipated costs for each component of the facility. Initial estimates are indicative only and the preparation of a robust business case will detail the projected capital and operating costs, which will be presented to Council for consideration mid-2022.

Council will strongly advocate to all levels of government to secure external funding and partnership opportunities for this vital community infrastructure project and will ensure that this is undertaken in partnership with key stakeholders including sporting associations and community leaders who have actively campaigned for this infrastructure for many years. Our aim is to maximise external funding in addition to developer contributions and thereby minimise the burden on rate funding.

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