The $57 million Gippsland Regional Aquatic Centre (GRAC) is the centrepiece of the Latrobe Valley Authority’s $85 million sports and infrastructure package.
It will allow Latrobe City Council to fulfil its long held desire for a facility of this type for its constituents.
The centre will feature a range of facilities for competitive swimming, leisure, general community use and major regional events, including an eight lane 50 metre indoor swimming pool with 500 spectator seats.
The GRAC will also include:
- Indoor water play zone
- Warm water therapy pool with spa
- Designated learn to swim pool
- Sauna and steam rooms
- Wellness centre
- Café and retail precinct
- Gymnasium and group fitness rooms
- Wet and dry change facilities
- 25 metre outdoor pool
- Geothermal heating
- 2 large water slides
On top of $46 million in State Government funding, an additional $8 million has been loaned to Latrobe City Council from Sport and Recreation Victoria’s Community Sports Infrastructure loan scheme to ensure all desired components of the project are included.
This, combined with a contribution of up to $3 million from LCC, meant the 25 metre outdoor pool, geothermal infrastructure and water slides could be included in the final scope of the project.
This project has strong community support, and was designed in consultation with local residents, key user groups and stakeholders.
What’s happening now?
Work is well underway on the Gippsland Regional Aquatic Centre.
ADCO Constructions took control of the site on 18 March, 2019 and have made significant progress since.
The outdoor pool has been drained and demolished, along with the clubrooms, kiosk and pool buildings.
A concrete crusher was used to recycle material from the demolition of the pools and buildings for use on site.
Bulk earthworks and piling followed with structural work now taking place.
The roof over the 50 metre pool has been erected and the dig out beneath has also been completed.
The specialised Myrtha pools for the 50 metre pool and warm water pool have arrived from Europe and are ready for installation.
Ausnet Services have been working to install the new high voltage electricity connection, mechanical ductwork is being delivered and installed and painters, plumbers, electricians and the aquatics specialists are all now on site.
With work ramping up, about 40 workers are on site most days at present.
Over the coming months that figure will rise to more than 100 workers daily with an expected peak of 120 at the height of the build.
Economic modelling suggests a project of this size will generate about 102 direct new employment opportunities and, in turn, flow on effects which boost the region’s economy.
The majority of contractors currently working on the project are local, including:
- Moncur Civil
- GBG Concrete
- Millers Plumbing
- CME Installations
- Morwell Shop Fitters
There are several other local suppliers and smaller contractors who are also involved in the project.
Beyond employing local contractors, ADCO has also proven to be a glowing corporate citizen for Gippsland.
Following recent fire devastation across the region, ADCO has donated $5000 to the Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund.
They have also supported the creation of an art wall adjacent to the Kay St Preschool to brighten up the site fencing and showcase the art talents of the preschool and St Michael’s Primary School children.
ADCO’s site team and a variety of non-local sub-contractors have all been staying, playing and spending locally as they work on the project.
Concept artwork for the 25 metre outdoor pool
An 18 month construction phase is projected with a completion date of late 2020 for an early 2021 opening.
Council worked with key stakeholders including Swimming Victoria to refine the scope of the aquatics components along with a nine-person Project Reference Group (PRG), taking inspiration and learnings from comparable centres across the state.
Feedback from community consultation was utilised in developing plans, with the Latrobe City community highlighting an indoor warm pool, spa and sauna as the top priorities beyond a 50 metre indoor pool with seating.
The Industry Capability Network and GROW Gippsland have been engaged extensively in order to maximise local content on the project and have assisted with the tendering process.
GRAC will use 90 per cent local content as a designated Victorian Industry Participation Policy initiative.
The PRG will continue to act as a key conduit between Council and community in the planning and delivery of the GRAC.
Geothermal heating project
The production bore neighbouring the GRAC is working well.
Designed to have a strong sustainability focus, the Gippsland Regional Aquatic Centre will be the first public aquatic facility in Victoria to incorporate a geothermal heating system.
An environmentally friendly sustainable energy source, geothermal energy will assist in significantly reducing carbon footprint while also aiding in energy costs savings of around $370,000 per year.
The system taps in to the aquifer below Traralgon at a depth of more than 600 metres below ground where the ground water is above 60 degrees Celsius.
The heat energy from the water is taken off via a heat exchanger and the cooled water is reinjected back down into the aquifer at about 40 degrees.
The production bore is now complete and testing confirmed that the bore functions well.
The injection bore works further along Kay Street are continuing with the bore drilled out and casing installed.
Drilling for the geothermal heating project began in July 2019, led by local company Drilltec.
Click here for a video exploring the geothermal system: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8MZkOzvgYOI
Traralgon Croquet Club
The grass is greener for the Traralgon Croquet Club (TCC) on the other side of a move to the Glenview Park sporting precinct.
An agreement was reached between Latrobe City Council and TCC to develop a new croquet facility alongside the Traralgon Greyhound Racing Club and Latrobe Valley Racing Club at McNairn Road.
The previous Breed Street centre was more than 60 years old and had limited capacity to host large events and simultaneous play.
The new site includes lighting to enable evening play, a new clubhouse and courts designed to maximise local usage and attract major competitions.
Construction is now complete and the new facility is in use by the club, with an official opening staged on 10 July.
The former croquet club site will be utilised as part of the GRAC development.
Planning and design: 2018
Construction start: March 2019
Completion: December 2020
Funding: $57 million