Geothermal public swimming pool, GRAC, wins top award
The Gippsland Regional Aquatic Centre (GRAC) in Traralgon is a world-class health and fitness facility which opened in March 2021.
At the Local Government Professional awards in Melbourne on June 2, 2022, GRAC won the Victorian top award for the Community Assets & Infrastructure (over $2.5m) Initiative Category.
The Latrobe Valley Authority (LVA) funded the multi-million dollar building of GRAC, which is the largest piece of infrastructure developed through the LVA's $85 million Victorian Government Sports and Community Initiative in partnership with Latrobe City Council and an $8 million dollar investment from Sport and Recreation Victoria’s Community Sports Infrastructure Loan Scheme.
LVA congratulates Latrobe City Council for entering GRAC into the awards.
The awards recognised GRAC’s unique design features, the use of geothermal energy and the role of successful community partnerships and collaborations to build the project.
GRAC is a Victorian first for energy innovation as it is the first time a public aquatic centre in Victoria uses a closed loop deep bore geothermal heating system to heat the pools resulting in a $640,000 per year saving in heating costs and 840 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
It has been a point of great pride for the community since opening and makes a significant contribution to social and economic resilience in the region.
In just over one year of operation, GRAC has welcomed more than 140,000 visitors despite the challenges of COVID-19.
LVA CEO Chris Buckingham said: “The Gippsland Regional Aquatic Centre has been a fantastic demonstration of a successful collaboration with Latrobe City Council and Sport and Recreation Victoria. It showcases our specialist expertise in geothermal energy and has proven to be a great outcome for the community.”
“There’s an enormous geothermal pool under the Latrobe Valley that can give us affordable, clean energy. When compared to geothermal systems around the world, the natural hot water beneath the Latrobe Valley, at only 650m depth, is a truly world class geothermal energy resource.”
The centre caters for competitive swimming and training, leisure swimming, general community use and major events. It includes an eight-lane, 50-metre indoor pool with seating for 500 spectators, an indoor water play zone, two large water slides, a learn-to-swim pool, a cafe and retail precinct and a 25-metre heated outdoor pool.Visitors can relax using a range of health and wellbeing facilities including a warm water therapy pool, spa, sauna and steam rooms, a wellness centre, and a gymnasium with group fitness rooms.
For more information, visit grac.ymca.org.au.