Willoughby Leisure Centre - Pool Area Upgrade

Posted: Wednesday, 23 October 2019

We are starting a detailed design for an upgrade to the pool area. The existing aquatic facilities are reaching the end of their life and will be redesigned to best meet the needs of our community. The existing pool and all the Willoughby Leisure Centre facilities will remain open until 2022.

What will the upgrade include?

  • While the design is still to be finalised, the upgrade aims to include:
  • 25-metre lap pool with access ramp
  • Warmer pool for programs such as aqua aerobics and hydrotherapy
  • Learn to swim pool
  • Toddler pooloo Play pools
  • New spa and sauna
  • External cladding and re–roofing of the whole centre

Is the whole facility being upgraded?

The internal upgrade is for the pool area of Willoughby Leisure Centre only. It excludes thereception, café, gym, creche, cycle space and sports hall.

What pools will be included?

We believe a 25-metre pool with complementary pools best meets the needs of thecommunity. This means a learn-to-swim pool, toddler pool and a program pool can fitalongside the 25-metre pool.

Will there be a dedicated space for lane/lap swimmers?

Yes, in the new 25m pool.

Will there be ‘on-deck’ showers? 

YES We aim to include showers beside the pool.

What is happening now?

The Willoughby Leisure Centre, including the pool area, remains open. We are consideringtenders to begin a detailed design. This will clarify the inclusions and layout of the newpool area.

What is happening next and when will the Centre close?

Once the detailed design has been drafted, we’ll ask you for your feedback and comments.This will help shape the design to make sure it’s exactly what’s needed. Only the pool area willclose in 2022. The other areas of the Centre will remain open during construction.

How long will it be closed for?

The pool area will be closed for about 18 months from sometime in 2022. This may changebecause of the design and approval process. We’ll keep you updated.

Is the whole facility closing?

Only the pool area will be closed during the upgrade. All other facilities will remain openincluding the sports hall, health club (gym), cycle studio, café and creche.

Can you stage the project so one of the pools remains open?

NO For practicality and safety, the whole pool area will be closed during the upgrade.

What sustainability measures will be included in the new pool area?

Environmentally sustainable features, including water efficiency, will be prioritised in thedesign. Find out more when the design is open for your comments.

How will traffic and parking be impacted?

A traffic and parking management plan will be prepared as part of the developmentapplication. We’ll keep you updated.

What happens to my membership during the closure?

We’ll be in touch with members, visitors and casual users in the lead up to the closure in 2022.

Why a 25-metre pool and not a 50 metre?

In the past, community feedback has supported a 50-metre pool. However, due to site constraints, the inclusion of a 50-metre pool would mean we could not include separate pools for learn-to-swim, rehabilitation and other recreation. Each of these pools are different depths and temperatures.

These complementary pools provide programs to important segments of our community. For example, the learn-to-swim pool would provide recreation and encourage a healthy lifestyle for children. It also encourages skills that could one day save a life. The growing number of older residents demands a stronger health and wellbeing focus, which would be met with classes such as aqua aerobics and space for hydrotherapy and rehabilitation. This pool is at a higher temperature. The market for recreation and leisure is generally made up of families who visit aquatic facilities for fun, relaxation and social activities. Studies indicate around 60% to 70% of pool users come from this group. They would not have any space at all if a 50-metre pool were installed and so visitor numbers would drop significantly.

Few new 50-metre pools have been built in urban areas in Australia in the past 20 years except where they will support state, national or international competitions. This is because construction and operation is expensive.

A 50-metre pool generally needs a catchment of 100,000 residents. The population in the Willoughby local government area in 2018 was 80,339 and is forecast to grow to 91,848 by 2036. Lastly, there are already 50-metre pools nearby including in Lane Cove, North Sydney, Northern Beaches and Ku-ring-gai local government areas.

In summary, including a 50-metre pool would lead to higher initial and ongoing costs and lower visitor numbers compared with a 25-metre pool and complementary smaller pools. We believe this will best meet the needs of the community and be the best use of ratepayer funds.

Contact us on 99585799 or if you have any further questions.

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