Port Macquarie-Hastings Council is committed to providing a new aquatic facility in Port Macquarie to meet the needs of the community for the next 50 years.
The Port Macquarie pool is a major health and recreation facility for the region and caters for a wide range of both competitive and recreational swimmers. Port Macquarie is undergoing unprecedented population growth, and the increase in both the number of residents and visitors utilising the pool in recent years has resulted in user congestion during peak periods. The existing pool was built in 1966 and whilst fit-for-purpose when it was built, the pool’s structure is deteriorating and no longer meets the needs of our fast-growing Port Macquarie-Hastings community.
The future development and upgrade of the Port Macquarie pool has previously been discussed with the community on several occasions and the development of a strategic concept plan for the Port Macquarie Pool, including the site selection process, is a key action in Council’s 2017 - 2025 Recreation Action Plan.
In late 2017, a survey was undertaken with the community which provided insight into how the Port Macquarie pool is currently being used and potential future requirements and community priorities for a new facility (with the survey results476KB pdf(PDF, 476KB) available for viewing by the community). The survey was the first step of a multi-stage engagement process.
Following the community survey, Council engaged Otium Planning Group, a specialist consultancy service with extensive expertise in aquatic facility development and management, who commenced a thorough review of the region’s current aquatic facilities and future needs in mid-2018.
In developing the Port Macquarie-Hastings Aquatics Strategy, Otium have identified and recommended the key components needed to meet the aquatic needs of the community for the next 50 years. These elements include a 50 metre and 25 metre pool, children’s water play, program pools, and fitness & wellness elements.
Based on the community engagement already undertaken, and the Otium report findings, six Council owned or managed sites in Port Macquarie have been identified that could accommodate the spatial requirements of a new aquatic facility. These sites are:
- Macquarie Park (Gordon Street)
- Dixie Park (Aston Street)
- Findlay Park (Findlay Avenue)
- Upper Oxley Oval (Pacific Drive)
- Thrumster Sporting Complex (College Drive)
- Wayne Richards Park (Koala Street)
In addition, there is the alternate option to upgrade the existing site in Gordon Street.
High-level layouts have been developed for each of these sites, and the community are being encouraged to ‘have your say’ from Monday 22 July - Sunday 18 August on the different site options, and the facilities that might be provided.
Following this engagement period, it is proposed that a report will got to Council at the September 2019 meeting for a decision to be made on the preferred site. This will then allow the project to move to Strategic Concept development, followed by Detailed Design, with further community engagement to take place at each stage of the project.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Why is PMHC looking at our aquatic facilities now?
Port Macquarie is undergoing unprecedented growth with its population forecast to reach more than 100,000 by 2030. Recent growth in both the number of residents and visitors to the region has resulted in congestion at the current facilities during peak periods.
The Port Macquarie Pool was built in 1966 and whilst fit-for-purpose when it was built, the pool’s structure is deteriorating and no longer meets the needs of our growing community. This deterioration has led to significant water leakage’.
As the pool is a major health and recreation facility for the region and caters for a wide range of both competitive and recreational swimmers, the construction of a new aquatic facility will address the above challenges that are presenting issues for operations and management of the current pool.
Council is planning ahead to ensure the Port Macquarie Aquatic Facility can meet the needs of the region for at least another 50 years. This will be an important investment in infrastructure for the enjoyment, health and wellbeing of the whole community.
What’s the timeframe for a new pool?
The upgrade of the Port Macquarie pool has been identified as a key project within Council’s Recreation Action Plan. Planning for the facility has commenced, with the construction phase categorised as a medium-term priority project in the Plan.
Updates on a more defined timeframe for the construction and completion of the facility will be provided as project planning progresses.
What process will Council follow in delivering a new aquatic facility?
This is a significant project which will be staged as highlighted in Council’s Recreation Action Plan:
|Develop a strategic concept plan for Port Macquarie Pool upgrade.
Short Term Priority
Detailed designs and approvals.
Medium Term Priority
|2020/21 – 2024/25
How much will new aquatic facilities cost?
Detailed costing for a new aquatic facility will be determined following the detailed design stage of the project. However, based on recently developed contemporary facilities within Australia, it is estimated that the project in its entirety will cost in the vicinity of $40 - $50 million.
Council will continue to engage with the community on their needs for the new facility and what they believe is feasible in balancing the cost of construction and ongoing operational expenses.
Will ample parking be provided?
Access and the provision of adequate parking at a new aquatic facility will be an important consideration within the site selection and strategic concept stages of this project.
If the pool is moved what will happen on the old site?
This is yet to be determined and will not be known until the site selection process for the project is finalised.
How will we pay for this?
Council will explore all available funding options to support this project.
What about a tidal pool? Is it an option?
A tidal pool has not been identified by Council in their current Delivery Program or strategic plans.
How were the above six site options identified?
Following consultation with the community in late 2017 via a survey to identify their priorities for inclusion in a new aquatic facility, Council engaged Otium Planning Group, a specialist consultancy service with extensive expertise in facility development and management. In mid-2018 Otium commenced a thorough review of our region’s aquatic facilities and explored our LGA’s growing demographics, including our projected future population and targeted engagement. Otium have identified key facility design components that are recommended to meet the aquatic needs of our community for the next 50 years. These elements include traditional aquatic facilities (e.g. 50 metre and 25 metre pools) combined with emerging ancillary components (e.g. children’s water play, program pols) and commercial elements to offset operating costs (e.g. fitness and wellness elements). For each design component that Otium have identified for a contemporary aquatic facility they have also identified the spatial requirements for these inclusions.
Based on the above initial external engagements (incorporating data from the community survey and recommendations from Otium) six Council owned or managed Port Macquarie sites have been identified that could accommodate the spatial requirements for a new aquatic facility.
What would an upgrade of the existing pool involve?
It is recognised that the existing pool site is not large enough to accommodate a new aquatic facility based on the identified spatial requirements. However, an alternate option to constructing a new aquatic facility would be to upgrade or replace the existing pool facilities to extend their useful life. This would essentially involve a like-for-like upgrade; however, further works would be required to bring the facility up to current industry standards and meet compliance requirements, which have come into effect since the original facility was constructed. This would include addressing accessibility and the upgrade of plant and equipment for operational purposes. Independent structural assessments have determined that the existing pool structures are at end of useful life, so full renewal of these facilities will be required.
It is estimated that these works would extend the usability of the facility for a further 50 years, noting the works would need to be undertaken over an estimated 8 month period and create impacts during this time for users of the facility. Further, this option does not address existing congestion issues associated with this facility, which will only worsen as our population continues to expand.
What will happen if a sporting/community group's existing site is chosen?
Some of the potential sites have sporting/community groups that currently use them. What will happen if their site is chosen for the Aquatic Facility?
Following a decision on the preferred site for the Aquatic Facility, it is of paramount importance for Council to work closely with any displaced user groups to ensure that a suitable alternate location that meets the group’s operating requirements is achieved.
Why hasn’t Stuart Park been included as a site option?
Stuart Park was previously identified in approximately 2005 as a site option for a new Aquatic Facility in Port Macquarie. Since this time, capacity demands from a number of user groups resulted in a Master Plan being developed for the Stuart Park and Wood Street precinct. The purpose of the Master Plan was to address a range of issues including an increase in participation in sport and providing premier recreational facilities that will benefit a range of sports, and that can be accessed by all ages and abilities.
In 2018, Council was successful in securing $3.2 million in funding under the NSW Government’s Regional Sports Infrastructure Fund. In addition to a co-contribution of $800,000 from Council, the funds will achieve implementation of the Stuart Park Regional Sporting Precinct Master Plan with works being undertaken in 2019 and 2020. The remaining space at Stuart Park will not be large enough to accommodate a new Aquatic Facility.
This page was last updated on: 18 July 2019