THE Ballarat Aquatic and Lifestyle Centre in Wendouree was the only site considered for the city’s new indoor 50 metre pool.
Ballarat City Council’s business case for the $16 million development, released publicly last week, looks only at BALC and does not consider possible alternative locations in the
Ballarat West Growth Zone.
The council’s acting general manager of people and communities, Neville Ivey, told The Courier there were “significant efficiencies” by co-locating the new indoor 50 metre pool at the existing BALC in Gillies Street.
“The cost savings are significant when compared to building a new stand-alone facility,” he said.
South Ward councillor Des Hudson said the council’s previous aquatic strategy had referred to locating a new facility in the western growth zone.
But he said BALC was now a far more cost-effective option.“In our surveys ... people are quite prepared to travel to the destination for a quality aquatic experience.”
The council’s Ballarat Aquatic Facilities report was made available to the public after former mayor John Barnes called for it to be put into the public domain, during public question time at the July 10 council meeting.
The council last week published the report, which considers the business case for the development of a new 50m facility and BALC.
It reveals the upgrade of BALC would require an increase in participation by 5.4 per cent over five years if the facility was to break even. Based on the expected visitation to BALC by 2020, the facility would be accommodating 519,000 visits a year, a 20 per cent increase on current levels, according to the report. “At this level of participation the facility will produce surpluses of around $700,000 per annum,” it says. .
Mr Barnes said he did not believe the pool was a wise investment for the council.