Hepburn Shire Council Aquatics Strategy
What is the draft Aquatics Strategy?
The draft Aquatics Strategy aims to provide a 10-year priority plan to guide the future strategic direction, infrastructure development priorities, asset management and maximise participation and programming opportunities to contribute to the health, wellbeing and liveability of the communities of Hepburn Shire.
There has been a suite of planning and community and stakeholder engagement to inform the development of the draft strategy, with input from residents and sporting groups, along with Sport and Recreation Victoria, Daylesford Indoor Aquatic Centre (DIAC) Advocacy Group, Creswick and District Aquatic Centre Advocacy Group and Central Highlands Rural Health.
What’s in the strategy?
The draft Aquatics Strategy includes:
- Strategic review and background research
- Demographic review
- Current facilities operational review
- Market research and industry trends
- Community engagement findings
- Facility hierarchy and provision
- Strategic recommendations and actions.
The draft strategy is consistent with the Council Plan 2021-2025 key focus area of A healthy, supported and empowered community and Council’s Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing Plan 2021-2025.
This includes optimising the use of public spaces to increase participation and community connections which is supported by the provision of leisure and recreation facilities such as outdoor community pools, that encourage healthy and active lifestyles to improve the health and wellbeing of the community.
What are the main points?
The draft Strategy will guide the future strategic direction, infrastructure development priorities, asset renewal and upgrades, operational improvement and activation of aquatics provision throughout the Shire.
There are a number of recommendations and actions arising from the Aquatics Strategy including consideration of priority projects including outdoor aquatics facility upgrades assessment and outdoor pool and waterplay upgrades. These recommendations will require further detailed planning work including feasibility, business case and funding strategy to fully understand Council’s ability to fund the facility upgrades identified.
The draft strategy supports the identified need for access to an all-year-round indoor aquatics facility. As outlined in Recommended Strategic Direction 7.4.7 in the draft strategy, further detailed investigation and the development of a feasibility study/business case is needed. This further work includes aquatics provision options, preferred location, facility components and concept plan, capital cost estimate, financial operating model and funding strategy.
The most significant challenge for Council in determining a future indoor aquatics facility is the affordability to build and operate such a facility. This includes the ability to attract sufficient capital funding for a new facility and the ability to sustain the ongoing operational cost.
The high order indicative costs associated with implementing the actions in the draft strategy are estimated to be $5.9 to $7.98 million. This includes facility upgrades, compliance and safety works; along with investment in management and operation, programming and activation, and further planning for an indoor aquatics facility.
Council does not have money allocated in the current budget, nor set aside in the Long-Term Financial Plan for these recommendations. The works would need to be prioritised with other Council expenditure.
Further work undertaken as part of indoor aquatics facility planning will identify the capital and operating costs associated with an indoor aquatics facility and this will need to be further considered by Council at the appropriate time. Such a facility would require significant external funding.