Why build an indoor aquatic centre?

    Under the 2031+ Community Strategic Plan, Council is endeavouring to provide the Wingecarribee Shire community with:

    • Access to a variety of cultural, recreational and sporting opportunities;
    • A healthy lifestyle and inclusive community; and
    • Services and facilities that are provided locally to meet the needs of our community.

    The community has requested year round swimming facilities for many years. Council is committed to delivering an indoor aquatic facility for residents and visitors to the Southern Highlands.

    The facility will be an important addition for the delivery of healthy lifestyle options for the community.

    Our local weather is also an important factor. For example in the 2009/10 Summer swimming season the swimming centres were open across a total of 151 days. Of those 151 days there were 44 days where we recorded above 1mm of rain, in addition we had 30 days where the top temperature was less than 20 degrees and on 9 of those days the temperature didn't rise over 17 degrees.

    The facility will improve our ability to provide learn to swim classes locally and stop local families from having to travel outside the Shire to train for competition level swimming.

    What happened about the Eridge Park Leisure Centre?

    The current Council believes that the Eridge Park Leisure Centre proposal was too expensive and could not be afforded by the Wingecarribee Shire community, so it has not been pursued.

    Who has undertaken the latest investigations?

    The current investigations have been overseen by the Indoor Aquatic Strategy Working Group which consists of Councillors Whipper (Chair), Halstead, Mauger and Stranger, Council staff and members of the community who were selected by an Expression of Interest process.

    The Working Group looked at options for redeveloping the Bowral and Moss Vale Swimming Centres.

    Why select Moss Vale as the site for the indoor aquatic centre?

    The Working Group looked at redeveloping both the Bowral and Moss Vale centres into indoor facilities. Preliminary estimates put the cost of the Bowral redevelopment at over $12M and Moss Vale redevelopment at around $8M. Therefore, the Moss Vale redevelopment is more affordable for the community.

    Moss Vale is centrally located for access by most residents of the Shire and is accessible by public transport.

    The development of the centre in Moss Vale would also provide a new attraction for the town.

    Why not build at the Bowral Swimming Centre?

    The Working Group initially looked at the Bowral Swimming Centre as the site for the centre but this was discounted for a variety of reasons including:

    • The initial development cost was too high. The preliminary concept cost estimate in 2009 was approximately $13M to provide a similar facility at Bowral to the Moss Vale proposal.
    • The Bowral site was not as easy to build on as Moss Vale
    • The Bowral site is potentially flood prone being located within the extent of the 1 in 100 year flood extent
    • Increasing use of the Bowral Swimming Centre will increase traffic impacts on Mittagong Road

    The estimated cost in 2011 would be more like $14M and is not within Council's reach.

    Why will the project cost so much?

    Aquatic facility buildings are complex. It is not simply a case of building a "shed" over the pool.

    Essentially they are designed to "breathe" by circulating fresh air through the centre so that the build up of moisture and chemicals within the centre are minimised, thus reducing inconvenience and discomfort to patrons from heat/cold, moisture and odours and reducing potential maintenance and long-term impacts to the structure.

    We are aiming to develop a modern indoor facility, so we are intending to build new pools and facilities including change rooms, café and pool plant, so essentially, it will be a new swimming centre for the community.

    The centre will also be designed to a suitable quality for a civic building, meaning that the fixtures and fittings need be able to handle a lot of use by the public.

    Spending money on building quality facilities upfront reduces maintenance costs in ensuing years and ensures the building will remain attractive longer.

    How much will it cost to run an Indoor Aquatic Centre all year?

    Council has prepared a business plan based on the current concept.

    The business plan suggests that the centre (including a gymnasium) will operate at a loss of around $320,000 in the first year but improve to a loss of around $35,000 by the fifth year.

    Moss Vale Swimming Centre currently operates at a loss of around $160,000 over a usual Summer swim season.

    What is proposed to be included in the Moss Vale Aquatic Centre?

    The initial concept includes a 25m 8-lane pool, a 230m2 program pool and a zero depth splash play park. The existing amenities building will be replaced with a new building including entry/kiosk facilities, change rooms, café, first aid room and gymnasium/multi purpose rooms. The design of the centre is to be developed in detail over the new few months.

    The pool plant and operation will be upgraded to meet current NSW Department of Health guidelines for pool operation.

    When will the centre be built?

    At this stage Council is aiming to commence construction around mid 2012, with the centre expected to be completed in the second half of 2013.

    What will happen to the other existing swimming centres?

    At this time there are no plans to close any of the other swimming centres. In fact Council has been developing plans to upgrade the centres.

    The existing centres are getting old and we need to spend significant amounts of money on them to keep them running and upgrade their facilities.

    Currently Council's priority is to develop an indoor centre for year round swimming and the upgrade plans will be delayed due to limited available funding.

    In the meantime, Council will continue to keep the existing centres operating at their current levels unless some form of significant failure occurs.

    Further information on the pools upgrade project can be found here.

    What about the other indoor swimming facilities in the Shire?

    There are proposals for the development of enclosed swimming facilities at Frensham and Robertson. These are private developments which do not involve Council beyond the approval process so Council cannot gauge the level of public availability of these facilities or when/if they will be developed.

    There are a number of existing small private enclosed/indoor facilities available across the Shire.

    The Moss Vale proposal is a large public facility that is expected to operate at a different market level. There may be some negative impacts to local businesses but the centre may also encourage an increased use of the private facilities as well, as the aquatic market balances out.

    What about the other gymnasium facilities in the Shire?

    The proposed gymnasium will compete with other facilities in the market. It is anticipated that the operation of the gymnasium will be offered for tender, therefore existing operators may bid to operate the centre's gym.

    The Wollondilly centre offers a gymnasium. They deliberately set their gym fees higher than the local gyms so that they were not accused of anti competitive behaviour in the open market.

    Will any existing trees be removed?

    The impacts on existing trees at the centre will be assessed at the design is developed. The shape of the building has not been finalised at this stage.

    Will the usual Moss Vale pool season be affected by construction work in 2012? Where else can I go to swim?

    Council is working towards the construction of a new facility at the earliest possible time however it is expected that there will be an extended period of closure.

    Construction is anticipated to commence around mid 2012, therefore the Moss Vale Swimming Centre will be closed over the Summer swim season of 2012/13. But when the centre reopens it will be a year round facility.

    Council operates swimming centres at Bundanoon, Bowral and Mittagong. They are expected to be open for the 2012/13 Summer swim season. These are accessible by car, bus, bicycle and train.

    Who can provide additional information?

    As the community asks questions we will add the responses to our Frequently Asked Questions info sheet and on this website. You can call the Project Team on (02) 4868 0806.

    Can I take a look at the existing Moss Vale pool?

    The Moss Vale Swimming Pool will be especially opened for the community take a look at the current facility and consider how the proposed indoor aquatic facilities will look and feel. This will be a drop in style of event allowing people to view plans, discuss options and provide comment.

    Council staff will be on hand to answer questions and record your comments. Everyone is welcome to attend.

    Come along on Thursday 10 November 2011, anytime between 4pm and 6pm.

    How can I comment on the concept plan?

    Wingecarribee Shire Council is keen to hear the community's thoughts and ideas for the project.

    Please take a look at the online discussion forums on this website and add your comments or respond to another person's thoughts. Maybe just agree or disagree with them. These activities will be recorded in the final report submitted to Council and will help guide the final design process.

    Another way for you to let us know how you feel is to put your comments in writing.

    Email: wscmail@wsc.nsw.gov.au

    Post: Wingecarribee Shire Council, PO Box 141, MOSS VALE NSW 2577

    Fax: (02) 4869 1203

    How do I comment on the LUA for the Aquatic Centre?

    The Land Use Application will be assessed by Council planning staff and their report and recommendations will then be independently reviewed by Wollondilly Shire Council before being considered by Councillors at a meeting in March 2012.

    You are encouraged to take a look at the new plans and supporting documents and consider making a formal submission.

    The application and accompanying plans can be inspected at Council's libraries, Customer Service Centre and all swimming pools until 31 January 2012. The documents are also available online at www.yoursaywingecarribee.com.au


    • Must be received by Council before 4.30pm, Tuesday 31 January 2012.
    • Must be accompanied by a Disclosure Statement of Political Donations and Gifts. If you have made a reportable political donation or gift within 2 years you will need to complete a disclosure statement (available on request).
    • Must be in writing and clearly indicate your name and address.
    • Must clearly specify the grounds for objection or support as this will be considered when the application is assessed.

    Please note that submissions can be available to the applicant, Council and the public or accessed through provisions of the Government Information Act 2009. Read LUA11/1092 Moss Vale Indoor Aquatic Centre Donkin Ave - OVERVIEW for further details.

    All correspondence should be addressed to the General Manager, Wingecarribee Shire Council, PO Box 141, Moss Vale 2577 or email wscmail@wsc.nsw.gov.au

    For more information contact the Environment and Planning Division on phone 4868 0806.