August opening for Coastlands Aquatic Centre
Coastlands Aquatic Centre will open to the public on Saturday, 10 August.
The date is later than Council had hoped for but Chief Executive Pat Dougherty says the stalling of the project because of the collapse of building contractor Mainzeal in February has contributed to the delays and uncertainty.
“The Mainzeal receivership put all our forward planning out and there is no doubt some momentum was lost. Since we got the project restarted it has been a real challenge to reassess time frames with any certainty.
“In view of all of this I hope people won’t mind waiting an extra few weeks for their aquatic centre. I can tell you it is well worth waiting for. Now that the pools are all full, the complex looks amazing and is a facility the community can really be proud of.”
Mr Dougherty says it is important that the aquatic centre is fully commissioned and tested before the doors open.
“Not only do we need to know everything is working as it should, we need time for staff to familiarise themselves with the facility and their various roles.”
Mr Dougherty says the pool is very sophisticated compared to some older facilities staff have worked in. It has computer-controlled air and water temperature and filtration systems, as well as the moveable floor.
“There is a lot of staff training to be done and for health and safety reasons, we can’t short-cut that process. I know some people will be disappointed but our forecast of a July opening was provisional and, as it happens, a little too optimistic.”
Aquatic Centre Trust Chair Neil MacKay says while he is as eager as everyone else to see the aquatic centre open, he’s not entirely surprised the date has been revised.
“The Mainzeal collapse was devastating in every way and all credit to the Council for managing to salvage the project. I’m not sure people realise how difficult that was. There has however been a ripple effect that’s still being felt.”
Richard Mansell of Coastlands, which paid $750,000 for naming rights for the facility, says he’s ‘fairly relaxed’ at the news. “We’ve waited a long time for this facility. If it takes another few weeks to make sure it is fully tested and safe then we have to be patient.”
Glen Taylor co-owner of major sponsor Pak’nSave, which has contributed more than $400,000 to the project, says he is disappointed the opening has been delayed but understands the circumstances the Council has found itself in.
“Clearly there have been some challenges in delivering the project but I’m glad we now have a firm opening date because that provides some certainty for the community.”
Council has confirmed that the 60 year old Raumati Pool will remain open over the school holidays from Monday 14 July to Sunday 28. During that period admission will be free for everybody.