By ALLISON HORE
A new hundred million dollar aquatic centre has opened in Zetland after being delayed for almost a year.
On February 1, the City of Sydney officially opened the $106.5 million Gunyama Park Aquatic and Recreation Centre. City of Sydney Mayor Clover Moore said the facility is the “largest pool complex built in Sydney since the 2000 Olympics.”
The aquatic centre includes a 50m pool for recreation inspired by Sydney’s popular ocean pools, a 25m pool with the third largest moveable pool floor in the world, a kids’ water playground, a hydrotherapy pool, gym, creche, café and a sports field.
In a tribute to Green Square’s indigenous history, a bronze sculpture modelled on handheld water carriers once used by Aboriginal people is the central artistic feature of the complex.
“The jewel of the complex is the 50m outdoor lap pool. Its unusual shape inspired by Sydney’s coastline edge allows swimmers to walk and paddle in or sit for a breather on the shoreline,” Ms. Moore told journalists at the opening.
“From children splashing and serious swimmers improving their lap times to gym-lovers and sports teams on the field, this terrific centre has something for everyone.”
The aquatic centre is the sixth swim facility in the City of Sydney, and by far the largest.
“Our new aquatic centre is not only beautiful and fun, it’s the first in Australia to achieve a five-star sustainability rating. It also features a full array of accessibility features, so it’s a place for everyone to enjoy,” said Ms. Moore.
Some of the features in the building’s design which contributed the aquatic centre’s five-star sustainability rating include rooftop solar panels and cogeneration systems to produce the electricity needed to operate the centre. Heat, produced as a byproduct of the energy production process, will keep the pools warm.
The aquatic centre will also be water conscious- the City of Sydney said. Water from the Green Square urban water recycling centre will be used to flush toilets in the bathrooms and to irrigate the surrounding parklands.
Budget blowout and delays
The aquatic centre’s much-hyped opening was 8 months later than the City of Sydney had originally planned.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic caused some delays to works and the delivery of equipment, but it was the discovery of unexpected concrete structures and underground utilities during construction which threw a bigger spanner in the works.
The City of Sydney has also come under criticism for the costs of the project. Originally, the council conservatively estimated the project would cost $50 million. But in January 2018, construction company CPB Contractors signed an $84 million contract to build the facility- already well over the estimate even before the unforeseen delays occurred.
In October last year, the Inner West council opened the nearby Ashfield aquatic centre which set ratepayers back $44.7 million.