Brimbank council has appointed architects to design the new-look St Albans Leisure Centre, despite no funding commitment from state or federal governments.
While the council continues to advocate for up to $25 million in investment from governments, it has appointed Williams Ross Architects to design the upgraded facility, which is now expected to cost more than $58 million.
The architects have previously worked on similar upgrades at Werribee Sports and Fitness Centre, Princes Park and North Melbourne Recreation Reserve. The council will also offer Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand and CommUnity Plus Services Ltd, tenancy agreements to co-locate at the hub.
Brimbank mayor Lucinda Congreve said it was an exciting stage for the centre.
“We know the community has been watching the progress of this project very closely,” Cr Congreve said. “What we’re going to build goes way beyond a new leisure and aquatic centre, in fact this will be an Australian first.
“We’re going to replace the leisure centre with a vibrant, welcoming and innovative multi-generational health and wellbeing hub – the centrepiece of which will be a state-of-the-art aquatic and leisure centre.
“The design consultants will now take our vision and create a design that will incorporate all of the aquatic and leisure features we have agreed to include, as well as spaces to accommodate the needs of our tenant partners.
“We look forward to being able to show the community what the hub will look like once the plans are drawn up.”
The council has allocated $1.8 million in its 2018-19 budget to design the project, but has yet to receive a formal funding commitment.
The council had its application for a $3 million Better Pools Grant knocked back by the state government prior to the election. Leaked documents said the proposal fell short in a range of key areas, including gender equality and environmental sustainability.
It also stated the costings did not allow for cost escalation and the need for a redeveloped leisure centre was not strongly communicated in the application.