23 November 2022
New swimming facilities for the Ipswich community are on the starting blocks with Ipswich City Council endorsing a new Aquatics Facilities Action Plan for the community.
Community, Culture, Arts and Sport Committee Chairperson Councillor Andrew Fechner said swimming ranked as the second most popular activity for children and the seventh most popular activity for adults in the City of Ipswich.
“The population of Ipswich is expected to more than double in the next two decades,” Cr Fechner said.
“Consequently, there will be increased pressure on existing public open spaces, sport and recreation facilities, and programs and services supporting participation in sport, recreation and physical activity.
“The Aquatic Facilities Action Plan will enable council to implement more effective planning of current and future aquatic facilities assets and services and provide quality and diverse aquatic facilities to the community.”
The Aquatic Facilities Action Plan, endorsed at council’s October meeting, outlines council’s strategic approach to aquatic facilities, with key recommendations including:
Councillor Fechner said $430,000 had been allocated in council’s 2022-2025 Capital Works Program for the necessary early planning and design work needed to progress the Rosewood Aquatic Centre upgrade with the construction, and other projects in the plan to be considered as part of future budget processes.
Councillor Fechner said more than 30 per cent of the Ipswich community is aged under 20 years.
“A younger population is more likely to seek both structured and unstructured recreation and physical activity pursuits, such as competitive and social sporting competitions,” Cr Fechner said.
“The social function of swim and leisure facilities is also becoming increasingly important; these days, swimming pool facilities need to be multifunctional and serve as a ‘social hub’ for the community.
“Implementation of the Aquatics Facilities Action Plan will contribute towards physically active and healthy communities, a key priority featured in iFuture, council's Corporate Plan for 2021–2026.”
Councillor Fechner said a recent Royal Life Saving Australia report titled “The State of Aquatic Infrastructure in Australia” had highlighted the challenges facing the government owners of the 1,306 publicly accessible pools across the nation.
“The report found that the average government-owned pool in Australia was built in 1968 with 40 per cent of these reaching their lifespan by the end of this decade,” Cr Fechner said.
“With most of these pools owned by local councils, the need to plan and budget for their eventual replacement is a significant and costly challenge for local governments including Ipswich City Council.
“I am pleased to see this work begin in council’s Aquatic Facilities Action Plan.”
The Aquatic Facilities Action Plan is available at https://www.ipswich.qld.gov.au/about_council/media/corporate_publications/active-ipswich-strategy-2031
Community feedback captured early last year, which helped inform the plan, can be found in the Aquatic Facilities Action Plan Community Engagement Report at ipswich.infocouncil.biz