Todd Park suitable site for future aquatic centre, report says

Todd Park at Blakehurst has been confirmed as a suitable site for the future construction of a regional aquatic and leisure centre,according to a consultant's report commissioned by Georges River Council.

The findings and recommendations of the technical study Regional Aquatic Leisure Centre - Todd Park Site Assessment Review 2021 prepared by Otium Planning Group Pty Ltd are due to be presented at next Monday's council meeting.

However, it comes with a recommendation supported by the Council's Assets and Infrastructure Committee that no further action be taken to progress the concept at Todd Park as Council has not identified any source of funding to enable the construction of a third aquatic facility in Georges River.

Otium's Todd Park Assessment Report includes detailed site investigations, technical studies, analysis of results, concept design development and the preparation of cost estimates.

After reviewing all the data and identifying the constraints and opportunities of the site, the Otium Planning Group has determined that a Regional Aquatic Leisure Centre at Todd Park would best be delivered through a two-storey facility built over a ground level car park.

"The proposed development footplate allows for the delivery of a full-sized, high quality outdoor playing field," the council's comment on the Otium report states.

It provides "adequate open space and tree buffers between the development and adjoining northern residential and eastern bushland areas."

It also avoids "relocation of major underground services, reduces the cost of excavation minimises the need for tree and flora removal, meets area and cultural heritage planning requirements, and provides a high standard of site vehicle access and car parking provision."

Two development options are suggested by Otium to the design and capital cost stage.

Option 1 includes an outdoor 50-metre pool with an indicative cost of $78.88 million.

Option 2 has an indoor 50-metre pool with an indicative cost of $86.94 million.

The cost estimates also include all supporting infrastructure upgrades such as service adjustments, drainage, car parking, playing field upgrades, landscaping and amenities.

A Hall of Fame, as resolved by Council on 25 May 2020, has also been incorporated into the concept design.

"The proposed facility concept and site development footplate includes all the recommended components necessary to meet the needs of the community and the functional and operational requirements specified in the Regional Aquatic Leisure Centre Site Suitability and Feasibility Study 2020," the council's report states.

Following geotechnical and soil contamination investigations, consultants JK Environments are also of the opinion that the site can accommodate a proposed RALC.

Otium Planning Group undertook a review of sports club and association utilisation of Todd Park to determine the impacts on existing user groups. This included an options analysis for the relocation of those displaced by the future site development.

The RALC concept designs enable an improved, full-sized football field to be developed on site 100m x 57m (5,700m2) with new sports amenities building and access roads.

The concept also proposes the relocation of the playground, half-court basketball and perimeter access trails (still within the site) and these items have been included in the concept plan and cost plan.

"At this stage rugby league and cricket activities would not be catered for with the proposed development. However a range of alternative location options have been identified for consideration and are discussed in detail within the Todd Park Report," the council's report said.

"There is currently no allocated budget or identified funding source for the additional investigations and financial modelling.

"In order to fund a capital project with an estimated cost of $75-$110 million, Council would have to explore the following funding options in isolation or in combination: grant funding, external loan, special Rate or Special Rate Variation, Internally or Externally Restricted Reserves."

$200,000 funding was recently included in the 2021/22 budget for the completion of the same site assessment review at the Kogarah War Memorial Pool site at Carss Park.