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The pool hall at Willoughby Leisure Centre will shut this month for a major upgrade but the gym and school holiday program will continue to operate.

At its meeting on 31 October, Willoughby City Council accepted a tender to begin construction on a major redevelopment of the Willoughby Leisure Centre. The pool hall will be shut for the upgrade period which will begin on 19 November.

Willoughby Mayor Tanya Taylor said the centre’s redevelopment was a once-in-a-generation project that would deliver three new pools, an upgraded multi-sport court hall, enhanced communal areas and improved accessibility and sustainability outcomes.

“Once complete, the project will deliver a strengthened multi-sports precinct that better serves the needs of centre users, across sports such as swimming, netball, basketball, volleyball and badminton,” Mayor Taylor said.

“While it will be difficult to be without our pool hall between now and mid-2024, we are confident that at the end of this project we’ll have a stunning new fit-for-purpose facility that will represent the very best in modern leisure centres.”

As a result of the Council’s decision, the final day of operation of Willoughby Leisure Centre’s existing pool hall will be 18 November, to enable the commencement of construction works during December.

The gym, including group fitness classes, and the school holiday program, will remain open across the entire construction phase.

The Centre’s two indoor courts and crèche will remain open from 18 November, but will need to close at some stage during the construction period. Further information will be provided in relation to these areas in the near future.

“We would encourage people to continue using the parts of the Willoughby Leisure Centre that are remaining open while construction work is taking place,” Mayor Taylor said.

“To enable this, existing members will receive a 15 per cent discount off their fees during the construction period.”

The upgrade has been supported by a $5m grant from the NSW Government’s Multi-Sport Community Facility Fund, with all other funding coming from Council, including from developer contributions.

Mayor Taylor said it was not possible to keep the 32-year-old pool open past 18 November, or to commence the reconstruction project after summer, given the complex’s water pump and filtration system had reached the end of its useful life. In addition, construction needs to begin before the end of December to take advantage of the $5m NSW Government grant.

“This project has been in the works for a number of years and we have made sure that our swim school participants, members, and broader community know how we are progressing,” Mayor Taylor said. “We are really excited to hit this key milestone.”

image: www.timbauerphoto.com via Willoughby Council

The Willoughby Leisure Centre upgrade will deliver:

  • A new eight-lane 25m pool, providing optimal depths and temperatures for lap swimmers
  • A new four-lane 20m learn to swim pool, with optimal temperature and depth
  • A new and dedicated warm water four-lane 20m program pool, which will be used for rehabilitation, therapy and fitness classes
  • A new spa and sauna adjoining the pool deck
  • A new family change room
  • An improved water filtration system, to reduce water wastage and energy use and mitigate contamination issues
  • A new pool hall roof
  • New accessibility features for all pools to support people with mobility restrictions
  • Replacement wooden court flooring
  • A new insulated roof and external wall cladding for the sports hall, delivering a more comfortable temperature and playing environment for athletes
  • A refurbished entry area, which will allow the centre to process around 30 per cent more users at peak times
  • New sustainability features, including solar photo-voltaic systems and rain water harvesting, delivering a 5 Star (Australian Excellence) Green Star rating
  • A new crèche outdoor area, allowing it to cater for around 75 per cent more children, allowing more young families to use the centre

Find out more information at www.willoughbyleisure.com.au

Main image: Artist’s impression of the pool hall upgrade