The Cannington Leisureplex - a meeting place with a difference

Commercial Aquatics Australia

Wednesday, 21 August, 2013

The Cannington Leisureplex - a meeting place with a difference

The City of Canning council wanted to rebuild a group of existing buildings in the town centre to create one large leisure centre. The new leisure centre comprises many different sectors, each with its own identity yet linked to the other sectors through the use of similar materials and colours. The complex incorporates a gymnasium, aquatic centre, creche, function centre, library, kid’s gym, two indoor sports courts, outdoor splash pad, 50 m water slide and a cafe.

The council’s aspirations were that the Canning Multipurpose Leisure and Community Centre “shall be the catalyst for delivering significant social outcomes for residents of the City of Canning” and be seen as a meeting place in a recreational, cultural, civic, workplace and commercial precinct. The brief called for a design that would acknowledge its context and provide an iconic reference point for all future developments in the area. The building should also address safety and security and employ the latest technologies.

CHRISTOU Design Group was awarded the contract to design the complex, while Commercial Aquatics Australia was awarded the contract to construct the pool and provide the internal pool finishes and water treatment plant. PS Structures was the head contractor for this project. This was a tender process in conjunction with the overall tender for the construction of the facility.

Kirsty Griffiths, Interior Designer, CHRISTOU Design Group, said the most important aspect for the interior design was for the finishes to be “timeless, hard wearing, environmentally sustainable and easy to maintain, with fresh bright and clean colours to provide a point of difference”.

“The client placed great importance on the cleanliness of the complex, both in appearance and maintenance. The pool hall in particular required extensive research to ensure that all finishes and materials were able to withstand the chlorine environment, heavy use, minimal maintenance and satisfy all safety standards,” said Griffiths.

The pool hall is a highly controlled environment, which is reflected in the planning and construction. Walls are replaced by glass to three sides, creating transparency and allowing interaction between the space and other facilities in and outside the complex.

The building was designed to achieve a 75% reduction of water and energy use by employing good orientation, principles of passive solar design and natural ventilation to the sports and pool hall, thermal insulation to walls and roofs, thermal (cool and warmth) storage, double and performance solar control glazing, and solar control louvres to shade exposed glazing.

In addition, a variety of technological solutions were used such as a geothermal bore, an innovative internal heat exchange system, demand-based air movement, a greywater recycling system for irrigation and a smart filtration system - saving vast quantities of water. The building management system ensures that all systems are continuously monitored for their performance against benchmarks.

John Mandelt, Design Manager from Commercial Aquatics Australia, played a key role in the construction of the pool. “The concrete structures such as the pool balance tanks and the pools themselves were completed first along with the overall site works and buildings.

“When the structure was nearing completion the internal tiles to the pools commenced. The hydraulic networks for all pools were completed early in the project, ie, prior to the concourse and slabs going down. Once the plantroom was built and at lock-up stage, the fit-out of the plantroom was undertaken. Commissioning was the last item to be carried out once all other works were complete,” said Mandelt.

The pumps are fitted with variable speed drives and the filters are Neptune Benson Defender filters utilising Perlite filter media. The use of these filters enabled a smaller footprint for the plantroom and smaller sized balance tank. The filters also use considerably less water to backwash, reportedly up to 8320 m3 per annum, thus saving the client money on water, heating and chemical costs and power. The water chemistry is a chlorine gas system utilising dual drums along with a soda ash system to control pH. The internal of the pools and concourse are tiled using Agrob Buchtal tiles.

The completed pool hall consists of a 20 x 25 m lap pool, lap/leisure pool with interactive water features, a spa pool in a separate ‘wellness zone’, an outdoor zero-depth water park with interactive water features and a 12 m high, 50 m long water slide. The wellness zone comprises a spa, sauna and steamroom.

Commercial Aquatics installed the zero-depth children’s outdoor water playground at the Cannington Leisureplex. The splash pad was supplied by Miracle Recreation Equipment, a well-established, Australian-owned business that has been designing, manufacturing and installing playgrounds and recreation equipment for more than 25 years throughout Australia and overseas.

The area includes various fun and interactive components for kids of all ages. Popular attractions at the playground include point-and-shoot water cannons, tipping buckets and a squirting whale’s tale. PolySoft was used for the surface of the playground, creating a colourful floor with antislip, soft fall matting. The surface temperature of PolySoft can be up to 20°C cooler than traditional finishes such as concrete, asphalt and rubber; it is also easy to clean, maintain and repair.

The operation of the water features is through a touch-screen operator interface panel. Operators can set times and how the features operate through this device and its programmable logic controller in the switchboard. Electrically actuated valves are used on the water park manifold to ensure accurate operation and water flow to the features. The filtration for the zero-depth playground is shared with the slide. The ultrafine filters used for the water playground filter down to 1 micron. The water is sanitised using chlorine gas and soda ash for pH control. A UV unit is also incorporated for secondary disinfection.

The 10 x 50 m twisting tunnel body slide with 8 m run-out was supplied by Polin and constructed by Commercial Aquatics.

Polin was founded in Istanbul, Turkey, in 1976, and has since grown into a leading company in the aquatic industry. Polin is now one of the world leaders in the design, manufacturing and installation of water parks.

The filtration for the slide is shared with the zero-depth water park, which is adjacent to the slide. The ultrafine filters used for the slide filter down to one micron. The water is sanitised using chlorine gas and soda ash for pH control. A UV unit is also incorporated for secondary disinfection.

Costing a total of $36.5m, the project was funded by the City of Canning ($26m), the federal government ($7m), Community Sport and Recreation Facilities Fund Grant ($2.5m) and Lotterywest ($1m). The construction of the pool hall started in approximately April 2011 and was completed in August 2012. The construction avoided any unforeseen challenges and the team was able to complete the project on time. The pool has now been opened for 11 months and there have been no reported complaints about the design or construction of the facility.

Centre coordinator Shana McKay is enjoying the popularity of the new centre. “Since the centre has opened, attendance has rapidly increased with over 215,000 visitors in the first nine months. Swimming lessons for babies to adults as well as swim and survive classes, junior lifeguard and squad training are offered by the centre’s swim school. Add this to the education department’s in-term and vacation swimming lessons and it certainly requires efficient pool space allocation.”   

CHRISTOU Design Group

The CHRISTOU Design Group, established in September of 1985 by James Christou, is a design intensive practice specialising in architecture, urban design and interior design. Based in Perth, Western Australia, Christou has developed an enviable reputation nationally and internationally. For more information visit

Commercial Aquatics Australia

Specialising in the design, construction, renovation, service and maintenance and water treatment of commercial pools for aquatic centres, schools, hotels and resort developments, Commercial Aquatics brings a wealth of accumulated experience to this specialised area. The company has an extensive portfolio of completed projects. For more information visit

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