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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Special Rate Variation (SRV) collected for the project is quarantined and fully committed to the project.
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.
The refurbished AAC will open in time for summer swimming season in 2019/20.
Inner West Council is absolutely committed to the project and will be providing regular updates on progress for the community on the Council website.
Ask AAC's staff, or visit this page for the latest information on the project.
The site of the present Ashfield Aquatic Centre was known as Bailey Park. The community engaged in a debate about the development of a municipal swimming pool. Eventually the decision was made to build a swimming complex on the site.
The swimming complex was completed in January 1963 and opened by the Premier, the honorable R.J. Heffron, before a gathering of 600 people.
The Ashfield Aquatic Centre has over 350,000 customers per year. It is also hosts a highly successful swim school, which has an average of 15,000 visits per month.
In 2007, Ashfield Council completed a report detailing the poor condition of the various components of the indoor and outdoor pools at the Ashfield Aquatic Centre. This report recognised that there would need to be significant funding allocated to keep the facilities at an appropriate usable standard. Specific works were also raised and required to be funded to meet the NSW Department of Health Guidelines for Public Swimming Pools.
The technical reports in particular indicated the 50 metre outdoor pool was at the end of its technical life and required major repairs or replacement. The likely cost in the next 10 years to continue to keep all of the current pools open safely was estimated at $5 to $7 million.
Community consultation identified that the Aquatic Centre is a highly valued and important community asset and that the continued safe and functional operation of the Aquatic Centre is desired. The Community told us that they would like a partial upgrade of the Ashfield Aquatic Centre. Ashfield Council had resolved to fund a $14 million redevelopment of the Ashfield Aquatic Centre.