Council fills funding gap for Northern Aquatic and Community Hub

Wednesday, 26 May 2021

The Council will increase its funding commitment to the Northern Aquatic and Community Hub by a further $21.84 million in a bid to bring the transformative facility to life and secure vital federal government funding.

For its $10 million application under the federal government’s Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF) to be eligible, the project must be fully funded and ready for construction to begin.

The Council’s decision to allocate additional funding in its four-year budget – made as a result of an urgent business motion during Tuesday night’s meeting – means the long-awaited redevelopment is now on the cusp of reality.

Council’s extra commitment – on top of the existing $23 million it has already allocated in its draft four-year budget – is contingent on its application to assign $8.26 million from the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Fund (LRCIF) being successful.

Subject to that success, the funding breakdown for construction of the $61.6 million facility would be as follows:

City of Greater Geelong         $44.84 million
Victorian Government             $8.5 million
LRCIF (federal government)   $8.26 million
Total                                       $61.6 million

Should the Council’s $10 million application to the Building Better Regions Fund then also prove successful, the Council’s total commitment would reduce to $34.84 million.

The Council’s resolution noted that extra funding would continue to be sought from the state and federal governments.

A seven-day feedback period will seek community comment on the proposed additional Council funding before it is considered for inclusion in the final budget, to be endorsed at the end of June.

Mayor Stephanie Asher said the Council’s decision was a momentous move towards delivering a community facility that would provide opportunity, health benefits and social connection.

This is a decision that has the capacity to change lives and outcomes for the people of Geelong’s northern suburbs.
It’s also a commitment that befits our investment in the coming northern and western growth areas.
We are at a make or break point for the project, and it’s time to get on with walking our talk.
Of course we will continue to seek support and lobby hard for further funding from other levels of government, but we can’t drop our bundle now.

Windermere Ward councillor Anthony Aitken said the Council’s decision to boost its funding commitment was a landmark investment in the northern suburbs.

Council has been advocating and lobbying for the Northern Aquatic and Community Hub for the past five years because we believe in this project and what it will do for the people of the north.
We must be the controller of this project and take opportunities in order to ensure the funding we’ve secured isn’t put in jeopardy, and to pave the way for future funding from the state and federal governments.
The Greater Geelong Council is taking this bold and courageous step to deliver the most significant community project the City of Greater Geelong has ever invested in.

Once built, the Northern Aquatic and Community Hub will deliver a state-of-the-art aquatic and community facility for the Geelong region in Norlane, creating $111 million in life-changing preventative health benefits during its first decade in operation.

Plans for the facility include a 25-metre pool, hydrotherapy pool, Learn to Swim pool, water play area and waterslide; spa, sauna and steam room; café; gym and group exercise; consulting suites for maternal child health; early childhood care; and rehabilitation services.

A large multi-purpose community hall also featured in the plans would become the best of its kind in Greater Geelong, with capacity to host up to 400 people.

Late last year the Council funded the fourth and final design stage of the Northern Aquatic and Community Hub in recognition that ‘shovel ready’ projects were receiving priority for government COVID-19 stimulus funding.

As a result, the project is now ready to be put out for construction tender as soon as it is fully funded.

Page last updated: Tuesday, 15 February 2022