High praise for Alkimos aquatic centre but still hurdles to overcome

The City of Wanneroo has started an advocacy campaign outlining the need for an extra $30m to build its preferred concept of the Alkimos aquatic and recreation centre.

THERE has been high praise for a concept design for the proposed Alkimos aquatic and recreation centre but there are still some hurdles to overcome.

The City of Wanneroo is still to secure land for the proposed project and while the city says it has enough money to complete stage one of the project it needs additional funding of at least another $30 million to build its preferred option.

The preferred option – concept 5 – which the council endorsed in November last year, has been estimated to cost $73.5m.

Concept 5 includes complementary facilities including health and fitness suite, creche and café and community services, which the business case for the project recommended as being critical to the operation and revenue generation of the aquatic and recreation centre.

While concept 5 represented a bigger up front capital investment, the city said it had an overall lower long-term cost to the city while delivering the required facilities to meet the needs of the community.

To fund the proposed aquatic and recreation centre the city has included $40m in its long term financial plan, which includes developer contributions and government grants.

To date the Morrison Government has provided a grant of $5m and the formal agreement between the city and the Department of Health was executed on January 15, 2021 with the funds due to be released to the city in July 2023.

And the McGowan Government committed a grant of $10m towards the project through the WA recovery plan funding program, with $1m to be released for planning and design development in 2021 and the remaining $9m being released for construction in 2023.

Along with its recent community consultation about the design concept the city also started an advocacy campaign outlining the need for an extra $30m to build a facility to meet the community needs now and into the future.

The city said the Alkimos aquatic and recreation centre page on its website received more than 24,000 views during the consultation period, which ran from December 6 last year to 28 January 28 this year, with more than 2000 individuals taking the opportunity to give feedback.

An extra $30 million is needed so the Alkimos aquatic and recreation centre can include things such as an indoor swim lane pool, hydrotherapy pool, fitness centre and a crèche.

The most popular elements featured in the design were the wide variety of amenities, the focus on accessibility and the inclusion of an outdoor 50m pool.

In November last year the city said it was working with DevelopmentWA and the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage to acquire and vest a 3.5ha site, which was to be fully serviced and have road access.

While the negotiations remained ongoing the officer’s November 16 report said the basis of the land allocation included that the recreation portion of the site (about 1.5ha) would be a contribution funded by the Alkimos Eglinton developer contribution plan.

The aquatic portion (about 2ha) would be vested to the Crown by DevelopmentWA, with no requirement for the city to provide any payment or other consideration for the land as confirmed by the McGowan Government.

Finally the recreation and aquatic portion would be amalgamated into one land parcel vested to the Crown and under the city’s management.

The management order will identify the purpose of recreation, community centre, entertainment and ancillary or beneficial use and provide the city with the power to lease or licence (with the consent of the Lands Minister) for a maximum term of 42 years.

At the city’s ordinary meeting on March 15 chief executive officer Daniel Simms said negotiations with DevelopmentWA to secure a location in Alkimos for the proposed centre had progressed.

Mr Simms said the council was hoping to finalise the land transaction details and to present a report to the council during the next two months.

He was sure about the location of the site but finalisation of the purchase was still underway.

Corporate strategy director Noelene Jennings said the council was still waiting for DevelopmentWA so she would prefer to say a report would be ready for council in May rather than April.

North ward councillor Chris Baker asked Mr Simms how the city would hold the approved site – whether it would be freehold, leasehold, crown reserve or wholly freehold.

“They are the last items we are finalising in our negotiations between DevelopmentWA and the city,’’ Mr Simms said.