The Regional Aquatic and Sports Centre at Mernda is the future regional level indoor and outdoor sports, leisure and aquatic facility, to be located on Plenty Road, Mernda.
The Regional Aquatic and Sports Centre 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.
At the Council meeting on 18 July 2022, Council endorsed the business case for the construction of the new Regional Aquatic and Sports Centre.
The state-of-the-art centre will include:
The new facility will provide improved health and wellbeing benefits to our community, through access to services and facilities for people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds.
The staging approach endorsed in the business case prioritises delivery of the indoor and outdoor sports courts. This is in direct response to current community demand which already far exceeds capacity - in the City of Whittlesea, we have a shortage of 43 indoor courts and 32 outdoor courts, with approximately half of registered netball and basketball players having to leave the municipality to play their sport.
In addition, the project will:
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 indoor and outdoor sports courts as well as lap swimming, warm water exercise, water play and learn-to-swim areas in the facility.
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 the comprehensive business case to be developed, balancing costs with community health and wellbeing needs.
The approach endorsed in the business case will see the project delivered in three stages.
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.
Council engaged Deloitte Australia as the lead consultant to prepare the business case, which is currently costed at $180 million.
The business case set out the approach for the design, delivery and funding of the project.
Staging the project spreads the costs over a number of years, however the sheer scale of this investment means Council cannot do this alone. To deliver this project Council requires the support of the Federal and State Governments and we are strongly advocating to both levels of government to contribute significant funding to deliver this much-needed facility.
Council has endorsed $48 million funding for delivery of Stage 2 (which includes detailed design of Stage 3) contingent on an external funding contribution of $40 million.
Funding for Stage 3 construction will be presented to Council for consideration in 2025/26.
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