Mernda residents want the suburb’s new aquatic centre to include a 50-metre lap pool but the council says it is not something it can afford.

Instead, the council will examine business cases for building an aquatic centre with and without a 25-metre lap pool before deciding what facilities will be included.

Council officers had recommended that the council endorse plans to build the
future aquatic centre without a lap pool, believing such pools have low usage levels outside of peak periods.

The aquatic centre proposed by officers would include a warm water exercise pool, water play area, teaching pool, gym, three program rooms, health consult rooms and a spa, steam room and sauna. It is expected to cost $47.4 million.

But councillors asked for a business case to also be developed for a $48.7 million centre including a 25-metre lap pool.

Cr Ricky Kirkham called for the centre to include a 50-metre pool to accommodate competitive swimmers.

He said there are no 50-metre pools in Whittlesea, meaning families and competitive swimmers need to travel to Splash Aqua Park and Leisure Centre in Craigieburn or WaterMarc at Greensborough.

A resident’s poll on the Mernda Residents Noticeboard found that 712 people want a 50-metre pool, compared to 103 people who want a 25-metre pool.

But mayor Lawrie Cox said the council could not afford a centre with a 50-metre pool.

“If we could have a bucketload of cash, we would build Splash or WaterMarc,” he said.

“We have got demands on us for sports and leisure facilities. It is a question of balance.

“I believe that what the community wants on a hot summer day is they want to jump into a water hole, not a competition pool.”