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Payneham pool redevelopment bill springboards to $60 million

The estimated cost to redevelop the Payneham Memorial Swimming Centre has tripled from $20 million to $60 million in three years, as a South Australia-based firm wins the project contract.

Mar 20, 2024, updated Mar 20, 2024
The Payneham Memorial Swimming Centre. Photo: Tony Lewis/InDaily

The Payneham Memorial Swimming Centre. Photo: Tony Lewis/InDaily

Revealed today by InDaily, the Payneham Memorial Swimming Centre is now estimated to cost $60 million – up from $20 million originally announced in 2021.

Norwood Payneham & St Peters Mayor Robert Bria said the council was “satisfied it will be able to meet its financial obligations” despite the significant blowout in costs for the redevelopment.

Plans are largely the same as first announced except for a newly-added zero-depth water play area.

Other amenities include a 10-lane, 50-metre outdoor pool, an 8-lane, 25-metre indoor pool, an 11×20 metre indoor learner’s pool,a 14-metre tower with two waterslides, change and meeting rooms, shade shelters, picnic seating and barbeques.

Each pool will also have all-access entry via ramp or lift and aquatic wheelchairs will be available for public use.

As announced in 2021, the project will be supported by a $5.6 million grant from the state government’s Local Government Infrastructure Partnership Program.

SA-based Badge Constructions has been awarded the contract for the redevelopment expected to be completed in 2026.

Bria said the cost of the build had “escalated significantly”, and attributed the $40 million increase in costs to “the economic landscape, most notably interest rates, inflation and skill shortages and supply chain issues” which “had serious knock-on effects to the nation’s construction industry”.

“Notwithstanding this, in making this decision the Council commissioned an independent Prudential Report which included a detailed review of the potential impacts of this project and its ongoing financial sustainability,” Bria said.

“The Council is satisfied that it will be able to meet its financial obligations and continue its financial sustainability without unnecessary impact on our ratepayers.”

The council is expected to be supported by the Local Government Finance Authority of SA to pay for the redevelopment. The body provides investment and lending solutions to local governments in the state.

The state government was contacted by InDaily for comment on its position regarding the higher cost for the redevelopment. A spokesperson said the government was committed to the $5.6 million grant for the swimming centre.

“The former Liberal Government made a $5.6 million funding commitment towards the council’s redevelopment of the Payneham Memorial Swimming Centre,” the spokesperson said.

“The State Government is honouring that funding commitment towards this project, which is managed by the council.”

A render of the proposed upgrade of the Payneham Memorial Swimming Centre. Photo: City of Norwood Payneham & St Peters.

Bria remained enthusiastic about the project which was expected to create 100 full-time equivalent jobs during construction.

“The Council is delivering what we have long committed to the people of the City of Norwood Payneham & St Peters – a brand new, significantly improved Payneham Memorial Swimming Centre,” Bria said.

“The Council understands the historical, cultural and social significance of this facility and is proud that our community will have a magnificent state-of-the-art facility in its own backyard.

“The local community, swimming clubs, schools and regular users have been waiting patiently for the redevelopment of this much-loved facility and they will not be disappointed with the final product.”

He added the swimming centre would “be the pinnacle of aquatic leisure centres, promoting health, well-being and recreational opportunities, as well as providing thousands of children with the life-saving skill of learning to swim”.

The redevelopment was first announced in 2021, with the council at the time noting the swimming centre was “desperately in need of major work”.

The centre, on O.G. Road, was first opened in 1968 by the former Payneham Council and is currently closed.

“Despite several repairs and plant replacements over the years, it has reached the end of its useful life and is in need of significant investment,” the council said.

Bria said that that to keep the pool open required significant investment.

“In short, the days spending money on patch-up jobs at the pool are over,” he said.

“The decision to award the contract is extremely exciting and I would like to thank the community for their patience while we have undertaken this significant body of work to ensure that the project is a success.”

The news comes ahead of a community forum being held tonight by the St Peters Residents’ Association where all five candidates in this weekend’s Dunstan by-election will take questions from locals.

The cost blowouts for the swimming centre are expected to be a focus for residents. Other topics expected to be on tonight’s agenda include traffic congestion, noise pollution, demolition of heritage buildings, loss of significant trees, loss of historic character and over-development.

The event will be held in conjunction with other residents’ associations in Dunstan including the Kensington Residents’ Association, Norwood Residents’ Association, Kent Town Residents’ Association and the Maylands Evandale Stepney Community Network Group.

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