50-metre pool a reality


by Michaela Meade

The Whittlesea community will be able to jump into a 50-metre pool, with Whittlesea council finally endorsing a competition-length pool as its preferred option for the Mernda Sports Hub.

After numerous reports to council over the last two years, Whittlesea’s administrators voted on Tuesday night to include a 50-metre pool in the new sports precinct.

The Mernda Sports Hub on Plenty Road will house leisure, aquatics and sports court facilities.

The aquatic centre has been a contentious issue in the community, with plans presented to the former council multiple times in 2019.

Councillors initially opted to develop business cases for a centre with and without a 25-metre pool.

The decision resulted in community backlash, with residents calling for a 50-metre pool to be included.

At the time, the council said it couldn’t afford a 50-metre pool.

Then, in December, 2020, Whittlesea council’s administrators resolved to investigate two new designs for the centre – one with a 25-metre pool and the other with a 50-metre pool.

Financial forecasting at the time revealed the centre would cost $80.3 million, including a $55.7 million 50-metre pool, compared to $75.6 million, including a $51 million 25-metre pool.

A report tabled at council last night stated the overall leisure, aquatics and sports court facility would cost over $113 million.

The council endorsed the project.

Extend the Pool in Mernda campaign leader, Ryan Hogan, said he would “believe it when I can swim it”.

“Build it and they will swim,” he said.

“After years upon years of the people of Whittlesea demanding this development and being told ‘we’ll look into it’ and some god-awful political nonsense, it’s glorious to see our group of appointed administrators – inside two years – do exactly what the previous elected council couldn’t in 10 years.”

Mr Hogan said it was an “amazing development” to have the project promised.

Chair administrator Lydia Wilson said it was the “most significant” infrastructure project the administrators would ever resolve upon.

“It is a legacy project of paramount importance to the Whittlesea community,” Ms Wilson said.

“This proposal… will be a benefit to children, families and older people of all backgrounds.”