Perth renegs on pool

PERTH council will go it alone after abandoning an agreement to build an aquatic centre at the WACA.

After months of investigating the plan, Perth councillors this week voted to opt out of a deal struck with the state and federal governments and look for their own site.

Premier Mark McGowan says the council should stick to the deal, but it was endorsed by state-government appointed commissioners just before they handed back power to an elected council last year.

A business plan commissioned by the new council warned the pool would drain millions from the council’s purse every year unless it was subsidised by an attached gym, cafe and other facilities.

Under the deal signed by the commissioners, the WACA would have had full control of any other facilities.

Lord mayor Basil Zempilas said this week: “We were not convinced that the WACA aquatic facility was the best deal for our ratepayers or was the best pool that we could envisage in our city.

“The WACA pool was bolted on as an afterthought in the grand scheme of the overall WACA ground redevelopment … a six-lane pool, wedged between the last row of the seats and a light tower at the cricket with no shade is not the best we can do for the City of Perth.

“The City of Perth would not have owned the aquatic facility at the WACA and we were also unable to negotiate revenue sharing for other services on-site such as a gym, cafe, retail outlets and creche.”

Instead staff will investigate other potential sites for a council-owned aquatic centre.

“We want an iconic pool, one that is bold, contemporary and will be a city destination,” Mr Zempilas says. 

“A pool that is a point of difference, a unique user experience that will cater for the needs of 

our community now and into the future, and, importantly, is value for money.”

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