Out with the old, in with the new - Hornsby Aquatic Centre

By Rebecca Brennan
Friday, 02 November, 2012

Out with the old, in with the new - Hornsby Aquatic Centre

Built in 1962, the Hornsby Aquatic Centre had been slowly deteriorating for many years. Its sudden closure in December 2010 was the start of something new and exciting for the residents in Hornsby Council. Pool + Spa will be following the construction of the new centre from planning through to completion.

Over the past decade, Hornsby Council had undertaken extensive repair and remediation works to extend the life of the pool. Engineers were closely monitoring the structural integrity of the concrete and in 2001 a new pool liner was installed to halt the passage of water from the pool into the concrete structure. Repairs to the grandstand were undertaken in 2004 and temporary scaffolding was also installed under the pool in key locations to provide further support.

Despite these efforts, the condition of the structure supporting the pool continued to decline and the rate of deterioration was unpredictable. Repairs could no longer be undertaken to address the risks.

Hornsby Council could not guarantee that the structure was safe enough to support the additional volume of patrons that would visit the center in the warmer months, so on Wednesday 1 December 2010, Hornsby Council made the decision to close Hornsby Aquatic Centre.

Rob Rajca, Manager of Design and Construction at Hornsby Shire Council said, “We were disappointed that the pool had to close earlier than previously anticipated. As a result, Council brought forward the design and tender stage so that the construction of the new center has commenced well ahead of time previously programmed.

In April 2011 two forums were held regarding the design of the new pool. The clearest message received was that residents wanted a 50-metre pool. Council then announced that plans were to be drawn for the new aquatic center.

“Our biggest challenge was obtaining the necessary funding for the new center. Council’s initial application for a special rate variation was rejected, but under new assessment arrangements, it was approved by IPART the second time around.”

“During the development of the plans for the new center Council undertook significant public engagement to ensure that the center met the needs of the greater community.  A broad cross section of the community, made from a group of approximately 40, were involved in a deliberative forum process to critique 4 concept plans and assist in developing the final concept,” said Mr Rajca.

In November 2011, Hornsby Council displayed the development application and invited residents to comment. 246 submissions were received, the majority of which were positive.

In June 2012 tenders for companies bidding on the project closed and council ratified the contracts. The construction company ADCO Constructions Pty Ltd, was appointed and demolition of the old pool begun in August, followed by excavation of the site to create space for the basement levels. 

“For me, the most exciting feature of the new centre is the large learn to swim pool, as there has always been a long waiting list for the old facility. The leisure pool and water slide are also noteworthy features as are the number of multipurpose rooms for dry activities, and excellent access all round for people with mobility difficulties. The provision of undercover parking for over 100 vehicles is another major benefit as the old facility had no on-site parking,” said Mr Rajca.

In September, construction of the new center began. The new Hornsby Aquatic Centre is scheduled to open to the public early 2014. Pool and Spa Review will keep you up-to-date with the progress.

Key Features of the New Aquatic Centre:

  • A heated, eight-lane 50-metre outdoor pool suitable for lap swimming and water polo
  • Outdoor seating for 500 spectators with provision for temporary seating for a further 300 spectators
  • A heated, 10-metre by 25-metre indoor pool for learn-to-swim activities
  • A heated leisure pool with zero-depth entry leading to a walking zone
  • A ground floor multi-purpose room suitable for crèche purposes
  • Changing and showering facilities with separate spaces for families and groups
  • A kiosk accessible from inside the center and from Hornsby Park
  • A first floor multi-purpose room & meeting room for dry recreation and club activities
  • Office space for the operation and administration of Council’s aquatic centers
  • Parking for more than 100 vehicles
  • Two lifts to provide access to all levels of the complex for people with access needs.
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