Wendouree company secures $9m contract to build indoor 50-metre pool

A WENDOUREE company will start building Ballarat’s new indoor 50-metre pool next month after securing a $9 million contract for the works.

The Ballarat City Council awarded the major contract to Nicholson Construction during an in-camera meeting on Wednesday.

The competitive industry tender came in well below the council’s forecast, which set aside $16 million for Ballarat Aquatic and Lifestyle Centre (BALC) upgrades.

The pool is anticipated to open next summer.

Nicholson Construction owner Richard Nicholson said up to 40 locals would be employed on site during the 12-month build.

It includes a 50-metre indoor heated pool, eight lanes, a family change village with 14 cubicles, two group change rooms, storerooms and office and meeting rooms.

Chair of the 50-metre pool advisory committee Des Hudson said having the tender process come in “well under”

expectations could potentially allow the council to push forward other parts of its aquatic strategy.

A second Ballarat water play facility, with an estimated $1 million price tag, is planned for the centre but the timing of its construction has not been determined.

It forms part of a further works package to be tendered for later in the year, including extra onsite car parks, landscaping and grandstand seating.

“We might be in a position to run both projects parallel,” Cr Hudson said.

BALC receives up to 600,000 visits per year and Cr Hudson said the capacity now being added would sustain

Ballarat’s aquatic needs for years to come.

BALC users are told any disruptions will be kept to a minimum due during the works, which will see the 50-metre pool house built outside of the aquatic centre.

“The final stage will be the cutting of the walls and joining it up,” Cr Hudson said.

“For users of the aquatic centre it’ll be business as

usual.”

Cr Hudson said preparatory works accounted for the construction already

going on around the Gilles Street site.

Nicholson Construction recently delivered similar projects at the Kyneton Aquatic Centre and the award-winning $10 million Hepburn Spa Bath House.

City of Ballarat mayor Joshua Morris said the council was pleased to see the contract awarded to a local Ballarat business.

“Last night’s decision is a great result for the local Ballarat economy,” he said.

The council allocated $17 million in its 2013-14 budget for an indoor 50-metre pool and two aquatic play spaces.

rachel.afflick@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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