Council has hired a consultant to estimate the operating costs of the two centres for the next decade. It is anticipated tenders will be invited for architects to draw up detailed design plans early in 2021. The goal is to have plans “shovel-ready”, prior to the next state and federal election cycle. Infrastructure funding is seen as important to a post-COVID economic recovery.
The Phillip Island Aquatic Centre Fund Inc. has been working with Council to identify the aquatic elements the community will need, to create a facility that we have been working toward for a quarter of a century.
We have had talks with Phillip Island sporting and recreation clubs, swim clubs, schools and community members, as well as operators in the tourism and accommodation spheres (school camps included), to identify potential patronage of the facility.
Given that Council has declared we are in a climate emergency, it is vital that the new Council looks beyond architects who may promote an off-the-shelf design. It is imperative that sustainable and renewable energy sources are utilised, which will have the long-term benefit of reducing operating costs. Our research into renewable energy has taken into account the energy required to heat the pool water, and generally operate the aquatic facility, but to also provide energy to run the future sporting and recreational facilities that will be co-located with the centre.
The group Totally Renewable Phillip Island, has a goal to create Phillip Island into a carbon-neutral island in the near future. Our research shows that extensive installation of PV solar panels, perhaps coupled with geo-thermal and heat exchange technologies, may be the solution to the high energy needs of such a facility. It may eventuate that there is an opportunity to harness energy from a future Phillip Island waste transfer station, thus keeping the operating cost of that facility to a minimum for ratepayers.
Our aspirational design for the centre includes a lap pool that is 8 lanes wide to cater for swimming carnivals, as well as club, school and recreational swimmers, a learn-to-swim pool, a warm water exercise pool suitable for the hydrotherapy needs of our ageing community and a toddlers play pool. The warm water exercise pool will be constant depth and temperature 7-days-a-week. This has the capacity to significantly enhance the health and well-being resources of Phillip Island.
Apart from being co-located with other sporting and recreational facilities in the long term, the aquatic centre surrounds will ideally link with the Shire’s recreational shared pathways network. An off-leash dog exercise facility is an easy inclusion.
The site in chosen is at the gateway to Cowes. Ample car-parking spaces will enable people to drive to the precinct, then use active transport – walking and cycling, or buses to move to the shopping precinct, instead of relying on private cars. Again, this is in line with the Totally Renewable Phillip Island and climate emergency principles.
This is an exciting opportunity to embrace world-best-practice in aquatic design and renewable energy use to provide a facility that meets the current and future needs of our community.
Why not become a member and hear more of our ideas at our upcoming Virtual AGM on the 6th October.