Games plea to revamp pool
THE Adelaide Aquatic Centre is being earmarked for a multimillion-dollar revamp that could secure the city’s bid to host the Commonwealth Games, campaigners say.
The vision for a world-class recreation and wellbeing facility for South Australian swimmers, capable of hosting elite competitions, at the North Adelaide centre is gaining support, even though it continues to operate at a growing loss and is in need of further upgrades.
City councillor Phil Martin will on Tuesday seek the support of elected members so Lord Mayor Martin Haese and chief executive Mark Goldstone can lobby the state and federal governments for funding opportunities for potential upgrades, redevelopment or replacement facilities at the Adelaide Aquatic Centre.
Mr Martin said the council could not afford to do the works on its own.
“We need the kind of bold innovative step, the kind that delivered the new North Adelaide oval, to deliver this city the world-class recreational and competitive swimming centre it deserves,” he said.
“Council has been doing the sums … and the upshot is that to do no more than repair and maintain North Adelaide aquatic centre could cost the ratepayers close to $15 million over the next 10 years.
“If you add operating losses, then it is likely the total cost would be in the order of $20 million.”
SA Games Appeal Committee chairman Mark Butcher has been pushing for SA to host the Commonwealth Games.
Although the SA Aquatic and Leisure Centre at Marion boasts an Olympic-sized pool, it lacks the seating capacity to host Commonwealth Games events.
“Even if you put in temporary stands, you’re still going to struggle to meet the demand for tickets for people who want to watch,” he said.
He said a critical piece of infrastructure required was a world-class swimming centre and he is calling for a business case for the redevelopment of the Adelaide Aquatic Centre.
“We think we’ve got a very good chance of that (Commonwealth Games) happening, either in 2026 or 2030,” he said.
“The swimming centre in Adelaide is well and truly overdue for a tidy up.
“We’ve got a premium site for it, why don’t we give it a real red-hot crack to get it right?”
Triple Olympic swimmer Phil Rogers called for investment in the Aquatic Centre to “return it to its former glory”.
“If we could get an injection of state and federal funding into that centre, it would provide a better facility to the community,” he said.
“It’s a vital centre for swimming clubs to use because there’s nothing between the Adelaide Aquatic Centre and Elizabeth, so we need the Adelaide Aquatic Centre to be able to train for elite swimming.”
TAKE A STAND: Claudia Ait-Touati at her roadside business Waffles & Jaffles at Coonalpyn.