Inner West Independent

Cooling-off period

The mercury might have been soaring across the state last Sunday, but Lilyfield provided the perfect antidote – the official reopening of Leichhardt Park Aquatic Centre, following the completion of $7 million worth of renovations and upgrades. Hundreds of locals turned out for the day, which included the opening of the centre’s brand-new gym and indoor program pool.

Leichhardt Mayor Jamie Parker described the redevelopment as a “really significant investment” for Council. “We think it’s going to deliver great results for the local community.”

He added Council was in the process of commissioning an Aboriginal art installation next year.

The new development, over five years in the making, encompasses a range of efficiency measures, including solar panels to heat the pool water, and thermal massing to minimise temperature disruptions.

Olympic diving gold medallist Matthew Mitcham, who lives in White Bay, was thoroughly impressed with the revamped facilities. “I saw the gym, and I’m totally blown away,” he said. “It’s the most high-tech cardio equipment I’ve ever seen anywhere, with the computer screens and the iPod docks.”

The gym features a range of state-of-the-art equipment, including some unavailable elsewhere in the country. Head of Development Fitness, Lance Goldsmith, highlighted the rare Kineses machines, imported from Europe, as well as treadmills with individual televisions and iPod compatibility. Wiring is also installed to facilitate later upgrades which will allow internet capability.

“I think the community needs something like this, because we’re a great location on the bay,” Mr Goldsmith said. “We’ve got a beautiful outlook, car parking space, [and] we’ve got the swimming pools too, so the kids can swim and the parents can work out.”

Annandale resident Craig Willis, a pool regular, was impressed with the completed facility, even if it came as a bit of a surprise. “I had no idea about [the opening] – I didn’t hear about it at all,” he said. “We just arrived today and went, ‘Oh, free – excellent!’”