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.”

Pic­ture: SARAH REED

TAKE A STAND: Clau­dia Ait-Touati at her road­side busi­ness Waf­fles & Jaf­fles at Coon­alpyn.

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