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 were identified that could accommodate the spatial requirements of a new aquatic facility. These sites were:
- 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, an alternate option to upgrade the existing site in Gordon Street was identified.
High-level layouts were developed for each of these sites, and community engagement activities were undertaken from Monday 22 July - Sunday 1 September 2019 on the different site options, and the facilities that might be provided.
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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.
How was Macquarie Park selected as the site for the new Aquatic Facility?
Further engagement with the community commenced on Monday 22 July regarding the proposed Port Macquarie Aquatic Facility, with a specific focus for this stage of engagement on selection of a preferred site. Various engagement activities were undertaken to reach a broad cross section of the community, incorporating online surveys, stakeholder meetings, targeted letter drops, traditional media and social media, online submissions, email blasts and Aquatic Facility pop-ups at two shopping centres and the Port Macquarie Pool.
The consultation period closed on Sunday 1 September and resulted in 880 surveys being completed and 57 written submissions received. From the consultation outputs, the community identified Macquarie Park as their preferred site for the Port Macquarie Aquatic Facility (please refer to the Port Macquarie Aquatic Facility Site Selection - Community Engagement Report for further information).
In conjunction with feedback received from the community, staff from across Council divisions came together to analyse a range of planning considerations against each site option. These planning considerations were grouped in themes as key criteria being identified:
Available space to deliver objectives, required functionality and longevity
Adjacent complimentary facilities
Location, catchment and accessibility
Impact to existing and planned users
Assessment of the sites against these criteria was undertaken which confirmed that the staff preference for an aquatic facility is Macquarie Park with a number of positive attributes being identified for the site, including:
Existing power / water / sewer utility / storm water / recycled water provisions within close proximity to site
Zoned as RE1 (permissible under current zoning)
Low bushfire risk
Central location and close proximity to existing pool site
Public transport access
Larger space is available allowing for more variation of facility configuration
Linkages with existing recreational site (netball), still space for future growth
Low impact to adjacent land use
Low vegetation impacts
Close to other community facilities
Parking to complement existing infrastructure. Through the community engagement process, a number of submissions expressed concerns about the impact an aquatic facility at Macquarie Park would have on parking, which many see as an issue at this time. As one of the largest sites proposed through the site selection process, Macquarie Park offers potential for more car parking to be provided than is required to service the aquatic facility providing a benefit to the broader area.
Exposure for existing businesses within close proximity
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 in strategic concept stages of this project.
What will happen on the old site once the pool is moved?
This is yet to be determined.
How will we pay for this?
Council will explore all available funding options to support this project.
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.
Following the engagement period, a report was tabled to Council at the September 2019 meeting with the following resolution being adopted:
Note the information contained in the Port Macquarie Aquatic Facility- Site Selection Report.
Acknowledge the community engagement that has been undertaken regarding a new Aquatic Facility in Port Macquarie and thank the community for their feedback on their preferred site.
Reconfirm Macquarie Park as the preferred site for a new Aquatic Facility in Port Macquarie.
Request the General Manager to proceed with the next stage of the project being detailed design and approvals; including development of a Strategic Concept Design.
Request the General Manager provide a future report to Council on the progress of detailed design and the Strategic Concept Plan in June 2020.
Request the General Manager provide a future report to Council on the outcome of discussions with the displaced user groups of Macquarie Park, being Port Macquarie Football Club & Port Macquarie Army Cadets to identify suitable alternative facilities in June 2020.
The project will now move to Strategic Concept development, followed by Detailed Design, with further community engagement to take place at each stage of the project.
This page was last updated on: 25 October 2019