SUPPORT for an aquatic centre to be built in the Butler electorate sooner rather than later is growing with a petition containing 4213 signatures recently presented to the City of Wanneroo.
At the council’s same March 5 meeting Mayor Tracey Roberts moved a motion, seconded by north coast ward councillor Natalie Sangalli, that the council notes the key findings of the north coast regional aquatic and recreation needs and feasibility study progress report.
The feasibility report was instigated after the council resolved to consider building an indoor aquatic and recreation centre in the Yanchep-Alkimos area before the 2042-2046 timeframe proposed in the northern coastal growth corridor community facilities plan (2011).
The first key finding of the progress report is that with a forecast population of 162,000 in the northern coastal growth corridor it is likely at least two aquatic and recreation centres can be justified.
An officer’s report presented to the council said this meant a strategic analysis was required to ensure that any development in the short term complemented long term demand.
It also required adopting a flexible strategy to avoid locking in or out development options.
The second key finding is research regarding travel patterns to aquatic and recreation centres have found it is closely correlated to travel patterns to work, education and shopping.
“This suggests that potential locations for a major aquatic and recreation centre will be in Yanchep at the proposed strategic metropolitan centre, and/or the Alkimos secondary centre,’’ the officer’s report said.
The third key finding is the capacity for users to pay with the report finding a big variation in the median weekly personal incomes among the suburbs in the northern coastal growth corridor.
The fourth key finding is that a deficiency in sports halls exists in the corridor, with the report suggesting the current population could support at least a two-court stadium.
“In the longer term additional courts will be needed to service the growing population.
“Whereas aquatic centres and fitness centres are not core business for schools, a sports hall is a significant teaching space for schools. “Consequently, a co-located sports hall with a secondary school may be a realistic and practical option for a short term solution within a long term strategy.’’
The fifth key finding is that six major aquatic markets have been identified – lap swimming, swim coaching-squads, learn-to-swim lessons, recreational aquatic play, aquatic fitness programs, therapeutic and rehabilitation programs.
The sixth key finding is that in the short term and given the age profile of the northern coastal growth corridor, the priority should be on servicing the needs of children and families.
“That is, priority to providing swimming lessons either through schools or via a swim school.
“To meet the recreational needs of toddlers and caregivers, and children up to about 15 years, aquatic play areas should be provided, such as splash pads, sprays and fountains, tipping buckets and slides.’’
The seventh key finding is the short term priority should be providing a centre that operates all year round.
“Hence water must be heated to at least 29C to enable swimming lessons.
“Unless geothermal heating is available, the cost to heat an outdoor swimming pool will be very high.
“It is unlikely that solar heating will enable water to be heated to this temperature over winter.
“Therefore, the short term solution should include an indoor aquatic facility, of at least 25m in length.’’
The north coast regional aquatic and recreation needs and feasibility study is expected to be completed in early May.