Ashfield Aquatic Centre refurbishment

Latest news

July 2017

During May and June the community was invited to give feedback on three options for the refurbishment of the Ashfield Aquatic Centre. Community feedback was used to develop the final design, the 'Community Preferred Concept Design', which was adopted at Council's meeting on 27 June.

The design will improve facilities for families and leisure users, water polo players, lap swimmers and learn to swim participants and will attract new visitors. The refurbishment includes:

  • New eight lane 50m pool replacing the existing 50m pool
  • New 25m grandstand on the western side of the 50m pool
  • New water polo pool replacing the existing water polo pool
  • New combined splash-pad and shallow water pool suitable for young children
  • New 1,000m² health and fitness facilities, including gym and studios, on level one of the new entrance building
  • New café serving the Centre and new public area on Elizabeth Street
  • New crèche and meeting room
  • New amenities, including family change rooms
  • Existing indoor pool hall maintained in current condition
  • New administration area, and plant and equipment
  • New shade sails over the combined splash-pad and shallow water pool, grassed areas on the western side of the 50 metre pool and grassed area on the south-eastern corner of the site
  • New entrance building setback from Elizabeth Street
  • New landscaped public area on Elizabeth Street
  • Extension of the Bastable Street car park, including demolition of the Bastable Street Hall and playground, single entry via Elizabeth Street and single exit onto Bastable Street (activities in existing community hall will be transferred to the new crèche and meeting room). 

For more detailed information, view the Council report here (PDF 47.5MB). Construction will commence in April 2018 and the refurbished centre will reopen in time for summer 2019/20.

May 2017

Inner West Council remains committed to the refurbishment of Ashfield Aquatic Centre and is reviewing the planning, logistics and budget to ensure that a first class facility can be delivered with the available funding. Council has developed three concept plans for the Centre on which you are invited to give feedback.

View the project page on Council's online engagement hub, Your Say Inner West, and complete a survey on the three concepts. Feedback closes on 5 June 2017.

The program of works at Ashfield Aquatic Centre (AAC) has been revised, and refurbishment of the centre will now commence no earlier than April 2018.

Ashfield Aquatic Centre will remain open and fully operational until the works commencement date.

The revision has resulted from several factors, principally because the recent Tender of works was unsuccessful.

No conforming tenders were received by Inner West Council.

“The pre-tender estimate for the project was $20 million. But the only tender that Council received did not meet all the specifications in the brief,” said Administrator of Inner West Council Richard Pearson.

“When staff looked at bridging the gap between what was in the brief, and what was submitted by the tenderer, they estimated the AAC cost would increase by at $7 million.

“Without a conforming tender, clearly we are unable to proceed with construction at this time. We need to go back and look at the planning, logistics, and budget of the project,” Mr Pearson said.

“However, I do want to make it clear that Council remains absolutely committed to the project. This is a once-in-a-generation project, and it will be done, and done properly,” he said.

Former Mayor of Ashfield and member of Council’s Implementation Advisory Group (IAG) Lucille McKenna said she was naturally disappointed that the project had been unavoidably delayed, but that she was heartened by Council’s commitment to the project.

“This is a much-loved and much-utilised asset for the Ashfield community,” she said. “The previous Council has had an extensive conversation with our community about refurbishing the pool. We were so convinced that it was what the community wanted we got community support for a Special Rate Variation which will pay for much of the cost of refurbishing the pool.

“That will not change. That money is in effect ‘quarantined’ for the pool project,” Ms McKenna said.

“Of course I’m sorry that the work has been delayed, but I do see this as an opportunity to fine-tune the project – not least because the Local Representation Advisory Group (LRAC) recently asked the project team to consider a gym option as part of the refurbishment,” Ms McKenna said.

“And I am also assured that the pool will undergo maintenance works in the coming months, to ensure it provides for the local community in the interim until works begin in 2018.”

Members of LRAC were briefed on the revision of works at last night’s meeting. An assessment of the way forward will occur over the next few months. A further report is likely to go before LRAC in April or May 2017.

Answers to frequently asked questions

How popular is AAC?

Ashfield Aquatic Centre (AAC) has over 350,000 customers per year.  It also hosts a highly successful swim school, which has an average of 15,000 visits per month.

The facility is home to the Ashfield Swim Club, the Ashfield Swim School and is used by NSW Wests Water Polo Club, local schools and is much loved by the local community.

Why does it need refurbishment?

In 2007, a Council report found significant funding was needed to keep the facilities at appropriate usable standard, and that the 50 metre outdoor pool was nearing the end of its technical life and required major repairs or replacement.

Why is the AAC refurbishment not commencing as planned this April?

Council tendered for the refurbishment in late 2016, however no conforming tenders were received.

The pre-tender estimate for the project was $20m. Council only received a single tender which was $7m over budget when all specifications were taken into account.

What is happening with the project now?

Council is now reviewing the planning, logistics and budget of the project to ensure that a first class facility can be delivered with the available funding. This work will occur over the next few months and a position confirmed by mid-year. It is now proposed to commence the refurbishment in April 2018.

Why is it being put off for a whole year?

The project was always expected to take about 18 months. By commencing refurbishment in April, we avoid closing for two summer swim seasons. Closing for one summer swim season only will minimise disruption to AAC users.

What happened to the SRV monies that were meant to pay for the refurbishment?

The Special Rate Variation (SRV) collected for the project is quarantined and fully committed to the project.

What will happen in the meantime with the pool?

Ashfield Aquatic Centre will undergo enough maintenance works to remain open and fully operational for the rest of 2017 and first quarter of 2018 until the refurbishment commencement date.

As well, the revision of works allows for the fine-tuning of the project, including consideration of the Local Representation Advisory Committee (LRAC)  recommendation to include a gym in the project design.

When will the refurbishment be completed?

The refurbished AAC will open in time for summer swimming season in 2019/20.

How committed is Council to the project?

Inner West Council is absolutely committed to the project and will be providing regular updates on progress for the community on the Council website.

How can I stay up to date on the project?

Ask AAC's staff, or visit this page for the latest information on the project.


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