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Pool failure prompts Council to fast-track new project

Published on Monday, 24 July 2023 at 11:13:05 AM

The Town of Port Hedland is laying the groundwork for a new aquatic centre, and seeking financial support, as existing facilities reach end-of-life.

The 44-year-old South Hedland Aquatic Centre has been closed since April for critical repairs to be carried out. It will remain closed until later this year after further problems were discovered during the construction work.

At its meeting on Wednesday, Town of Port Hedland councillors will decide whether to spend a further $685,000 on the South Hedland facility, taking the total repair cost in 2023 to more than $1 million.

At the same meeting, councillors will consider the budget for 2023-24 including funding to start designing the aquatic element of the planned Hedland Sports and Arts Precinct.

Town of Port Hedland Mayor Peter Carter said a new aquatic centre was critical for the Hedland community.

“Our ability to deliver a new pool depends on Government, both State and Federal, and the resources industry partnering with us to help fund it,” Mayor Carter said.

“We’ve been talking to Government about the Hedland Sports and Arts Precinct and we’re asking those involved in the Resources Community Investment Initiative to prioritise a new aquatic centre for Hedland.”

For funding to be allocated through the Resources Community Investment Initiative, contributing companies need to propose their preferred projects.

“This initiative has been pitched as a fund for transformational projects across Western Australia, including those in key mining regions. Port Hedland absolutely fits the bill, and we are asking the companies to get in behind us and support it,” Mayor Carter said.

“These mining companies all have a local presence and an interest in seeing Hedland thrive.”

The Town will also be applying for Federal Government funding through the Growing Regions Fund, while contributing a substantial amount of ratepayer funds to the project.

The total estimated cost of the Hedland Sports and Arts Precinct is $330 million. The cost of the aquatics element is estimated to be $80 million. The Town is seeking $60 from Government and the resources industry. Specifically, it has proposed that $40 million of the project be funded by the Resources Community Investment Initiative.

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