Until recently, surveys indicated that after improved medical services for Islanders an Aquatic Centre was the most important. Now that medical needs are better serviced, an Aquatic Centre has become Islanders’ primary concern. Repeated feasibility studies, commissioned by the Phillip Island Aquatic Centre Fund Inc (PIACF) have ALL concluded that an Aquatic Centre on Phillip Island can be justified and would bring significant benefits to the community.
Recent Census data indicates a rapid growth in population, both young families and older residents who will need greater sporting/health provision! The aged need warm water rehabilitation to maintain their independence and mobility and children need to learn to swim. We are surrounded by water but cannot train our children to swim due to a lack of infrastructure. Aquatics provide many physical and mental and social benefits. We need government investment in the health and well-being of our local community, not just tourism.
PIACF recently commissioned two reports. The first, an Aspirational Master Plan for an enlarged recreation precinct on Phillip Island, was compiled in consultation with Island sporting groups to cater for current and future requirements. Part of this development is a sustainable Aquatic/Fitness Centre. The second, outlines how such sustainability can be achieved, using technology and ‘outside the box thinking’ to reduce operational expenses, make a profit and bring sporting tourists to the Island for off-peak multi-night stays boosting the local off-peak economy. These are attached for your review and have been shared with BCSC.
BCSC is advocating for two Aquatic Centres in the Shire. A new facility for Phillip Island and an upgrade to the existing Wonthaggi pool which, although ageing, has been assessed by engineers as structurally sound for 10 years at the last report. Information suggests that an appropriately designed and built Phillip Island Aquatic Centre, able to host competitions and carnivals, could not only be economically viable but produce a surplus, which could help fund a second Shire facility in the future. Such capacity has not been evidenced in the life of the Wonthaggi pool. We would argue that any funding for Aquatics in Bass Coast Shire should be directed to Phillip Island first!
An Aquatic Centre, particularly an environmentally sustainable one (ideally using Passivhaus principles), is not cheap to build and out of the reach of BCSC, but this investment reduces operational costs dramatically, making good environmental and economic sense. Government financial support is required to build facilities to support the population of Phillip Island for the next 30+ years. That investment will be paid back in increased health and well-being, and increased visitation to the area. It is also notable that Phillip Island has a history of growing sporting champions particularly surfers and swimmers. Improved training facilities could further boost such achievements.
Our community does not understand why they have had to fight so hard and for so long for their Aquatic Centre to be built. Funding this facility will make a lasting contribution to Phillip Island and win the hearts and minds of our community, which is especially important in an election year in the marginal seat of Bass.
We urge you to fund this facility as part of your election campaign.
‘On behalf of the more than 3,000 members of Island Voice, a key stakeholder community organisation on Phillip Island, I heartily support PIACF’s request for funding for an Aquatic/Fitness facility on Phillip Island. Such a facility is the single most important missing piece of our community infrastructure. It would support all age groups to achieve improved health and well-being. It is, by far, the certainly most common request that we hear from residents and would be greatly valued by the Island community.
Dr. Linda Marston (PhD)
Hon. Secretary, Phillip Island Progress Association – Island Voice