History of the PIAC Fund Inc.
The PIACF Committee has been functioning as a not for profit, volunteer run, incorporated organisation since May 2000. Our intention is to facilitate the building of a multi-use, aquatic facility on Phillip Island for the Phillip Island community.
Your support is vital. A vibrant community-based organisation is the only way of gaining this important facility.
This site will continue to update members and guests on the progress that is being made, in convincing Council, State and Federal governments and the community to support the Centre.
We look forward to the ongoing support of our current members and the Phillip Island community.
The Phillip Island Aquatic Centre Fund Inc. was incorporated under the model rules of the Associations Incorporation Act 1981 on October 1st 1999.
The official launch of the program was at a gala dinner in May of 2000 where Dawn Fraser AO, agreed to become the patron of the program.
The inaugural committee of management understood from the earliest days, that a difficult task lay ahead, as there were numerous hurdles that had to be overcome, not the least of which was the common perception that all pools lose significant sums of money annually. There was also very little interest from any level of government in the construction of an aquatic centre on Phillip Island.
From very small and frugal beginnings the PIAC fund grew in membership and confidence. Persistence and perseverance were the watchwords of the group, as there was little else in the arsenal in the beginning. As the membership grew, the committee were able to develop the public profile of the fund, by participating in a number of community activities on a regular basis and undertaking a program to heighten the awareness of the program within our community.
It is very difficult for any community based organisation with little or no resources, to grow sufficiently in stature, so that their public profile is such that it can influence individuals and large organisations. This was certainly the case with the PIAC Fund, until we were successful in gaining the support of the B-24 Liberator Memorial Fund Inc. One feature of this organisation's community programmes, was the dismantling of the former Australian defence buildings, for donation to not-for-profit organisations that require housing. In our case we were donated 2/3 of a three thousand square metre aircraft hangar from the former R.A.A.F Base at Tottenham in Melbourne. The remainder of this hangar was donated to the Vietnam Veterans Museum, and can be seen erected at the aerodrome at Phillip Island.
The donation of the hangar raised the profile of the fund very effectively, and increased our resource base by some $500,000. Having acquired the main structure for our aquatic centre, we then needed to (a) find a suitable model on which to build our aquatic centre and (b) find a site on which to construct it. To determine a suitable model two major surveys were undertaken.
Firstly, a survey of the whole of the community. In this instance, the community within the triangle centred on Corinella, Cowes and Kilcunda. To have the results of a survey accepted by the various government departments and the major organisations we hoped to gain our funding through, the survey had to be prepared using a specific set of criteria and within a specific set of guidelines. Our community is quite unique, in that it is a major tourist destination, and its mobile, non-permanent population falls outside the normal guidelines allowed for a community survey. What is quite a large geographical area, is home to only a small permanent population and there is an abnormally large number of schools, camps and other entities in the area that attract a large number of people. Therefore the development of our survey plan required a significant amount of work to prepare, and some 2 ½ years to complete.
A second survey was carried out to find the preferred model for the construction of our aquatic centre. A number of aquatic centres across Victoria were visited, and the pros and cons of each were compared to the model we had proposed for Phillip Island. One particular aquatic centre was found to fit virtually all of the criteria we had established for our own needs, right down to the fact that it was also constructed in a recycled building of almost exactly the type of construction we planned.
Whilst the research into the various aquatic centres was underway, a program was put in place to seek the most suitable site for our aquatic centre. A number of sites were considered, and some research was undertaken to ascertain future development trends on and around Phillip Island. Some significant information was gleaned from the community survey, and much of the research showed that a site near the centre of Phillip Island would be advantageous to all members of our community. Discussions were held between ourselves and several land holders in the desired area, and soon after, we were made an offer by the management of the CYC Adventure Resort. After nearly 2 ½ years of negotiation, the proposed site on Adventure Resort land was confirmed at our Annual General Meeting in September 2005. This land which is recreationally zoned, and build-ready, was provided almost rent free for an initial 30 year lease and renegotiated at 60 years.
Since 2000, the Phillip Island community has been instrumental in assisting with fundraising for this important cause. Whilst some of this money has been spent to run the committee (e.g. bank fees, admin costs, advertising, feasibility study costs), there is still $50,000 held in trust. Donations that resulted in names on bricks are still relevant, and these bricks will become a feature wall at the pool.
In money terms we need 10-12 million to build the pool. Our intention was to get:
· 5 million from the federal government
· 2.5 million from the state government to match 2.5 that we will raise
· 1-2 million from further fundraising, benefactors and/or the shire council
The 2.5 million raised by us, includes in kind donations such as the land value at the Adventure Resort (approx. 1.2 million), and the donation of specialist pieces of pool plant equipment. There was still a need to raise approx. 1 million to reach the 2.5 million goal. The State government funding agreement has no sunset clause attached to it.
In late 2007 we prepared a thorough application for a 5 million dollar federal government regional infrastructure grant. This grant opportunity was cancelled in January 2008 due to the GFC, and was reintroduced in 2011. The PIACF committee then worked towards preparing a new funding application due in late 2011/early 2012. Much of the work done on the earlier applications was still quite valid and could have been updated to current requirements. We also had the benefit of improvements in technology since 2007. The PIACF committee was no less determined than in 2007, to continue with all of the new information gained, to take the strongest possible arguments to all levels of government in our endeavours to construct an aquatic centre on Phillip Island.
Informally we knew that the public have wanted and needed a pool for years, and to prove this unequivocally, a feasibility study was commissioned in 2010 by Sports & Leisure Solutions. This study was published and demonstrated quite clearly that there is a great need for such a facility on the Island. Almost 8% of the community responded to the study, which is a very significant number, as the average response from this type of study is generally in the order of 1.5-3%. The outcome was so in favour of an aquatic facility for Phillip Island, that a random phone survey of 100 Phillip Island residents was performed to ensure the validity of the voluntary response - which they were.
This study highlights the need for a pool on many levels, particularly for reasons of fitness, health and for children. Phillip Island has aging population; hence the need for water based exercise options, including hydrotherapy services run by a physiotherapist, is very high. The study also highlighted the crisis the Bass Coast Shire has in the provision of learn to swim programmes through schools (This study is available to view here).
The strong outcome of this study was to be part of our ammunition for the regional funding round to be announced in 2011. Unfortunately, the Federal Government changed the selection criteria for this latest round of funding, meaning a non-profit organisation such as us, could not apply. This has been another major blow to our financial planning, and has resulted in the withdrawal of the lease at the Adventure Resort – but not the withdrawal of their support for our cause.
Whilst our local council – Bass Coast Shire – has not supported us primarily on the basis of the Adventure Resort land being privately owned, we have formed a working group with them to collaborate, and share information for a common end point – being aquatic facilities for Phillip Island. Unfortunately, after a year of discussions there has been little in the way of progress, partly made difficult by the impending change in council in Oct 2012.
Our goal now is to consider alternative options for funding and land. One option is the possibility of a pool on the land bought by the Bass Coast Shire Council, near the carnival site on Ventnor road in Cowes. The reality of this collaboration is that a pool for Phillip Island will still be 10-15 years away. This is because the current council’s priority to fund the upgrade of the Wonthaggi pool before building a pool for Phillip Island. As a committee, we believe there is potential to look at a concurrent plan to do both and hope the new council are open to this idea too.
We are however, open to alternative sites of land and very open to investors, and particularly one with 10-12 million dollars they would like would like to donate to us!
We still have a goal of raising not only awareness of our passion to make this pool a reality, but a goal to once again have a solid membership base. We have had 1700 members in the past and we would love to reach at least 2000. Please click here for more info.