Community and Recreation Hub

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For over 30 years there have been community discussions about the need for an indoor aquatic centre and more recent discussions have incorporated other indoor sporting facilities into the conversation.

The Community and Recreation Hub is a multi-purpose facility designed to be a community space, with facilities and activities for all ages and abilities including children, families, youth, community groups, recreational and organised sports and those with special needs.

This development will provide substantial year round indoor facilities, addressing many community needs both now and for future generations to come.

The Community and Recreation Hub will increase the ability for Mount Gambier to host major sporting competitions, conferences, events and performances providing significant social and economic benefits.

Council has committed to work alongside our community to ensure that this development fulfills the needs and aspirations of all potential users.

Find out more about this exciting project by:

Do you want to keep up to date with the progress of this facility? Sign up to receive updates as construction begins and the project progresses.

We encourage community members to sign up for project updates or check back to this page regularly throughout the project development, participate in consultations and ask questions.

For over 30 years there have been community discussions about the need for an indoor aquatic centre and more recent discussions have incorporated other indoor sporting facilities into the conversation.

The Community and Recreation Hub is a multi-purpose facility designed to be a community space, with facilities and activities for all ages and abilities including children, families, youth, community groups, recreational and organised sports and those with special needs.

This development will provide substantial year round indoor facilities, addressing many community needs both now and for future generations to come.

The Community and Recreation Hub will increase the ability for Mount Gambier to host major sporting competitions, conferences, events and performances providing significant social and economic benefits.

Council has committed to work alongside our community to ensure that this development fulfills the needs and aspirations of all potential users.

Find out more about this exciting project by:

Do you want to keep up to date with the progress of this facility? Sign up to receive updates as construction begins and the project progresses.

We encourage community members to sign up for project updates or check back to this page regularly throughout the project development, participate in consultations and ask questions.

  • Community and Recreation Hub Site Preparation Event

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    24 September, 2020
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    The City of Mount Gambier will hand over the Olympic Park site on Margaret Street to head contractor for the Community and Recreation Hub project BADGE Constructions on Monday 28 September 2020. The Council held a celebratory event on site this afternoon in preparation for the milestone.

    The event included a special Welcome to Country led by Aunty Penny Bonney and Uncle Mikey Hartman and a Smoking Ceremony to acknowledge the coming together of culture and people to promote the protection and wellbeing of all in its development, performed by Uncle Doug Nicholls.

    “Today is an exciting day for our city. Following the completion of the tender process and the execution of the building contract for the Community and Recreation Hub project, work will soon begin on the largest infrastructure project the Council has ever undertaken,” said City of Mount Gambier Mayor Lynette Martin OAM.

    The year-round multipurpose facility is designed for people of all ages and abilities including children, families, youth, community groups, recreational and organised sports and those with special needs.

    “The Community and Recreation Hub is a truly transformational project for our city. The facility will increase the city’s ability to host major state and national sporting competitions, conferences, events and performances to provide significant social and economic benefits to Mount Gambier for decades to come.”

    Mayor Martin said there is no better time to start the build as our community begins to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

    "Our State and Federal Governments are encouraging local Councils to do their bit to stimulate the economy with major infrastructure projects. BADGE constructions will invest $22.9 million locally through trades and suppliers during the construction period alone, providing a significant boost to the local economy in these challenging times."

    “The Community and Recreation Hub will be a game changer for Mount Gambier, a community space for everyone. We deserve a facility of this calibre and the Council is excited to get started on the build,” said Mayor Martin.

    The new facility is expected to be completed in Autumn 2022.

  • Recreation Hub Community Q&A Sessions

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    18 September, 2020
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    City of Mount Gambier will host a series of community Q&A sessions regarding the Community and Recreation Hub project following the completion of the tender process and the execution of the building contract.

    City of Mount Gambier CEO Andrew Meddle said there are several mistruths about the project circulating throughout the community and encouraged people to get the facts.

    “There is a difference between fact and opinion. We want to dispel the myths about the project and answer your questions,” Mr Meddle said.

    “The tender process took a year to complete and during that time Council had a responsibility to ensure that the matter remained in confidence to protect the interests of the community by maintaining the integrity and competitive nature of the tender process. Now that the contract has been signed, we can provide significant detail on this game changing project.”

    City of Mount Gambier Mayor Lynette Martin, Elected Members and the CEO will be present at the sessions to discuss the project.

    "This is your opportunity to ask questions and learn more about what the Community and Recreation Hub will offer" said Mayor Mayor Martin.

    “Since the signing of the contract on Monday 24 August 2020 Council has been considering how it can best communicate with our community about the project. This has been challenging due to COVID-19 restrictions and it has been decided the sessions will run by demand and by registration only for contact tracing purposes in line with SA Health guidelines.”

    Interested community members will need to phone 8721 2526 to book a seat at a session, the first of which will be held on Tuesday 22 September 2020.

  • Head contractor appointed for the Community and Recreation Hub

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    27 August, 2020
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    The Mount Gambier Community and Recreation Hub will progress to construction in coming weeks following the completion of the tender process and execution of the building contract, with BADGE Constructions awarded the head contractor tender.

    City of Mount Gambier Mayor Lynette Martin OAM said the signing of the contract is an important and exciting milestone towards the transformational project.

    “With facilities that will cater for the entire community and provide a significant contribution to the economy, we are very pleased to have finalised the procurement process and look forward to construction commencing on site soon,” Mayor Martin said.

    “Mount Gambier deserves this, it is going to be a game changer for our city and after 30 years of our community asking for a facility of this type, now is the right time to invest in this project and finally get it started.”

    Following the competitive tender process, the contract value has been updated to $57.3 million of which $15 million will be funded by the Federal Government and $10 million from the State Government. A minimum of $22.9 million will be injected directly back into the local economy throughout the build.

    Acknowledging the increase of the project price since the original estimate, Mayor Martin said $39.1 million was based on the intermediate design in 2018.

    “The market response to the tender process has now determined the true build cost based on the detailed design.

    “We’ve listened to input from the community and included refinements that have improved the hub’s functionality, flexibility and that will reduce whole of life costs while staying true to the community’s needs and aspirations,” Mayor Martin said.

    “Industry-wide changes have occurred since the estimated cost was established, including changes to the building code and building fire safety regulations and of course COVID-19 has significantly increased the risk profile of the project. The updated figure also includes the necessary refurbishment of the 50 metre outdoor pool.

    “We have made decisions to invest heavily in sustainability measures such as a fully electric heating and cooling system, supplied by solar power that, while increasing the capital cost, will reduce the whole of life costs - for example, the solar capacity will enable the electricity to be cost neutral within seven years of the expected 50 year lifespan of the facility.”

    The additional cost will be funded by Council through borrowings at a low interest rate over a period of 20 years.

    “Council is in a very good financial position to withstand the additional cost and service the loan, particularly with access to very low interest rates, and we remain committed to not increasing rates beyond the 4.5% outlined in the Long Term Financial Plan.

    City of Mount Gambier CEO Andrew Meddle said the build will provide a huge boost to the local economy with the head contractor committed to achieving a minimum local spend of $22.9 million.

    “The robust procurement process ensured that Council not only secured the best value for money for the community but that the contract includes a large portion of local content, and this will provide a significant injection into the local economy at a time when it is needed most,” Mr Meddle said.

    “COVID-19 has placed an even stronger focus on our health and wellbeing and has highlighted the value of investing in community infrastructure.

    “We have been fortunate to secure an unprecedented level of financial support from the State and Federal Government, an amount never seen before in our region, and it’s now our turn to support their calls to help re-boot the economy.

    “To prepare for a strong recovery from the current crisis, now is the time to invest in quality community infrastructure to strengthen our city as a regional centre and position ourselves to attract visitation and investment,” Mr Meddle said.

    Following several months of tender review and assessment and weeks of final negotiations, BADGE Constructions was selected as the preferred head contractor.

    “This is a unique build that requires a company with suitable experience with complex infrastructure. We congratulate BADGE on their successful bid and look forward to working with the team towards making our community’s aspirations a reality,” Mr Meddle said.

    As a South Australian owned national builder, BADGE have been building commercial construction projects in Mount Gambier for more than a decade including UniSA, Mount Gambier Prison and Resthaven.

    “It goes without saying that we are thrilled to be awarded this project,” BADGE Managing Director Jim Whiting said.

    “Delivering important regional infrastructure projects gives us real opportunity to contribute to the local economy during the course, and provide long-lasting community impact with a quality facility.”

    The contract allows for site handover to occur in coming weeks with the project anticipated to be completed in Autumn 2022.

    “We thank the community for their patience as we have taken the necessary time to conduct the tender process thoroughly and with the added complexity of a global pandemic,” Mr Meddle said.

    With the tender process now complete investigation is underway to identify an operating model for the facility.

    “Now that we have finalised the construction contract Council’s immediate focus will shift to securing a partnership for operating the facility that will best serve the needs of the community,” Mr Meddle said.

    “Council maintains its commitment to ensuring the facility will be accessible for all, and affordability for all users including clubs and/or associations will be a key consideration during this process.”

    Further information and updates on the project are available at on this page and interested persons can now subscribe to a newsletter via the site to receive regular updates as the project progresses.


  • Community and Recreation Hub Update - 2 July 2020

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    02 July, 2020
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    City of Mount Gambier held a confidential special Council meeting on Wednesday 1 July 2020 to consider selection of a head contractor for the Community and Recreation Hub.

    Negotiations with the selected tenderer will now continue to enable Council to conclude the procurement process and secure the best value for the community before a contract is entered into.

    "Council appreciates that the community is eager to receive an update on the Community and Recreation Hub and the tender evealuation team have been working hard over many months to ensure the procurement process is not compromised" said City of Maount Gambier CEO, Andrew Meddle.

    “Following the conclusion of the tender process and once a contract has been entered into, Council will be in a position to provide the community with a thorough update regarding the project timeframes and cost.”

    “We thank the community for their patience as we have taken the necessary time to negotiate the tender process,” Mr Meddle said.

    The tender process has experienced inevitable delays caused by the scale and complexity of the project and further hindered by COVID-19.

  • Community and Recreation Hub detailed design

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    03 December, 2019
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    Following months of behind the scenes work the detailed design of the Mount Gambier Community and Recreation Hub is now complete. The completion of the plans now enables Council and project architects DesignInc to release tender documentation to shortlisted construction companies as part of the select tender process following the recent expression of interest advertised on the open market.

    “It is really exciting that we have now progressed to the procurement stage of the project after more than 18 months of tireless work by all involved,” City of Mount Gambier Mayor Lynette Martin OAM said.

    “For many months there has been a lot of essential work taking place behind the scenes to reach this point and I am sure the community will be pleased to see the project moving closer towards becoming a reality.”

    The nationwide expression of interest process aimed to establish the current capacity and capability of construction companies within the open market.

    "The select tender process is now about sharing the specific and detailed design with the shortlisted prospective head contractors to enable the project to be properly costed according to the market and so we can endeavour to get the best value for money for our community."

    City of Mount Gambier staff and Elected Members have been working closely with the project architects, with input from the Community Reference Group, to refine the intermediate design presented to the community late in 2018.

    Refinements to the design have been minimal and are focused on meeting compliance for a range of sporting codes and the National Construction Code following recent changes. Whole of life factors have also been considered as part of the refinements to ensure the best value can be sought through both the construction and operation phases of the facility.

    "The plans have been refined to ensure the new facility is compliant with current standards and best practice in the construction industry with these changes mainly focused on recently introduced building fire safety regulations," City of Mount Gambier CEO Andrew Meddle said.

    The facility has been designed to increase the City’s ability to host major state and national sporting competitions, conferences, events and performances and is expected to provide significant social and economic benefits to Mount Gambier.

    “Council has also considered the varying sporting codes that will be accommodated and has made minor amendments to the intermediate design to ensure that the facility is future proofed and there is the capacity and flexibility to enable more people to play more sports more often,” Mr Meddle said.

    As the project has progressed from intermediate to detailed design other refinements include the introduction of additional commercial kitchen space, enhanced water play area, additional storage, hydronic flooring, provisions for solar power and increased electrical capabilities.

    “The inclusion of a three-phase power outlet improves the flexibility of the facility and is essential to running large scale events.”

    “The increased electrical capabilities also provide the option to power the whole facility by generator, which will enable the site to be used as a disaster recovery centre should the need ever arise,” Mr Meddle said.

    Based on feedback from the community the first floor commercial kitchen size has been increased. This will allow greater flexibility to service multiple events and activities concurrently at the café and on the first floor.

    "The input we’ve had so far towards the project from various stakeholders has been most valuable and our focus remains on delivering a multi-purpose facility for the whole community to enjoy" Mayor Lynette Martin said.

    The addition of hydronic flooring has been included in the design and aims to reduce costs associated with the operation of the facility.

    “Heated flooring in the wet areas has many benefits including improved energy efficiency. It also reduces the amount of ongoing maintenance and cleaning required and helps to improve safety by making the floor surfaces less slippery,” Mr Meddle said.

    The core elements of the facility as presented in the intermediate design have been retained, including:

    • Conference, events and performance space, adaptable for many uses with 1000 person plus capacity,
    • Six indoor multi-purpose courts catering for various sports and users,
    • All year round aquatics facility including children’s water play/splash pad area, learn to swim pool, 25 metre pool and warm water/program pool,
    • Community and function rooms,
    • Fitness areas,
    • Dedicated youth space, and
    • Integration with existing 50 metre outdoor pool throughout the summer months.

    A quantity surveyor conducted initial cost estimates for the facility in 2018 based on the intermediate design to progress the project and to enable Council to prepare applications for Federal and State Government funding.

    "Council was required to submit a shovel ready proposal and as such required a level of costing to be undertaken for funding purposes and preliminary planning," Mr Meddle said.

    Now that the detailed design and specifications for the project have been finalised the cost will be determined through the competitive tender process.

    "As with any project that is construction based, it is the open market that dictates how much the project will cost to build."

    "This is not dissimilar to building a house where initial plans are drawn up and then it is not until you obtain a formal quote from a builder and finalise all your selections that you get a true indication of the real cost of the build. The Community and Recreation Hub is no exception to this concept, but on a much larger scale."

    “The Council also has a responsibility to the community to ensure the tender process is not compromised and that we achieve the best value from the market,” Mr Meddle said.

    The select tender process is expected to be completed by the end of February 2020 with construction anticipated to commence on site shortly after. The project is on track to be completed as originally planned in late 2021.

    Work on the project will continue behind the scenes during the procurement process with the contract for project management services currently being finalised and investigation of operating models underway.

    “In addition to the procurement process, we are currently working to identify an operating model that will best serve the needs of the community and will determine the necessary resources required for the facility to function,” Mr Meddle said.

    The project team will be out and about at the following locations next week:

    Tuesday 10 December 2019 - Civic Centre Courtyard
    10.30am to 12.30pm and 3.30pm to 5.00pm

    Wednesday 11 December 2019 - the Riddoch and Main Corner Complex
    10.30am to 12.30pm and 3.30pm to 5.00pm

    Thursday 12 December 2019 - Mount Gambier Library
    10.30am to 12.30pm and 3.30pm to 5.00pm

    “We encourage interested members of the community to come along to one of these sessions to view the detailed design and palette selection and ask any questions you may have about the project,” Mayor Martin said.

    There is still an opportunity to submit ideas for a name for the new facility with Mayor Martin encouraging the community to get involved.

    "Name ideas can be submitted via the Community and Recreation Hub naming boxes located at the Civic Centre, Library and Main Corner Complex as well on the Have Your Say website and I encourage everyone to get their thinking caps on and get involved so we have as many creative ideas as possible to shortlist."

    Interested persons can now subscribe to a newsletter to receive regular updates as the project continues to progress.

    The Community and Recreation Project has been made possible through the support of the Federal and State Government Regional Growth Funds.



  • Community and Recreation Hub tenancy matters

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    27 September, 2019

    The site for the new Community and Recreation Hub at Olympic Park, between Margaret Street and O’Halloran Terrace, will require the unavoidable displacement of a number of tenants occupying Council owned assets. As the project has progressed Council now have a clearer understanding of the impact and identified transitional solutions for affected tenants and users.

    At its meeting on 17 September 2019 Elected Members endorsed to progress with a complex engagement strategy to work towards transitional solutions for groups who may be impacted by a reconfiguration of tenancies.

    It is important to note that Council is committed to working together with these groups in order to achieve an outcome that is as fair and reasonable as possible for all parties,” Deputy Mayor Sonya Mezinec said.

    A number of solutions to minimise the imposed disruption have been considered and Council’s obligation and priority at this point in time is with the affected parties. Further details will be released in due course as this progresses to a fair and reasonable outcome.

  • Work continues on the detailed design

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    25 July, 2019

    CEO Andrew Meddle shares the latest news on the internal configuration and detailed design of the Community and Recreation Hub.


  • Mount Gambier Community and Recreation Hub Update

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    08 July, 2019
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    The City of Mount Gambier continues to refine the internal design features of the Community and Recreation Hub with architects CO-OP Studio and DesignInc. Detailed design options for the sports court flooring and aquatics facilities are currently being considered.

    Community and Recreation Hub Community Reference Group (CRG) members met with Elected Members and Council Officers on Thursday 4 July 2019 for an update on the project. It follows pre-work conducted by a team of technical specialists on site at Olympic Park on Margaret Street.

    “Feedback from the CRG, community members, Elected Members, field specialists and the technical team has contributed to the evolution of the internal design,” City of Mount Gambier Mayor Lynette Martin said.

    “So this is an opportune time to reconvene with the CRG to provide an update and seek their feedback on some of the options that have been presented to us by the architects to date.”

    The pre-construction assessments on site enable Council, through the Regional Sport and Recreation Centre Committee, to consider a number of options regarding the design of the aquatics facilities and associated infrastructure.

    “Constant changes in technology and innovation mean that new options are emerging all the time and new information provided by the technical team has resulted in discussions about the options available for the structure of the pools,” Mayor Martin said.

    “There is a new type of construction that is now being used in many pool projects known as Myrtha stainless steel and the architects have evaluated this against a concrete option.”

    Tender specifications will include options for both the Myrtha stainless steel and concrete pool structures in the interests of securing best value for money through both construction and whole of life costs.

    Preferred flooring options for the court areas are being considered, with two options compliant with Federation of International Basketball Association (FIBA) standards.

    “Both Neoshok and Haro brand flooring will be included in the tender process as we are confident that both options are suitable to meet required standards across multiple sports.”

    The internal design of the facility will be modified to allow for the inclusion of two kitchens, one on each floor.

    “We have received feedback from the community about the desire for highly functional kitchen spaces within the facility so this has enabled us to consider multiple options as we move forward with finalising the internal design and costings."

    "Like any design process, when you have a concept that is well advanced but not all details are complete, you need to provide the architects with information about the preferred options to be tested via a tender process which will provide more precise costings and determine material availability."

    “I look forward to the Regional Sport and Recreation Committee, the CRG, Elected Members and Council Officers working closely together to provide a facility that will benefit the whole community.”

    The Regional Sport and Recreation Centre Committee has extended the opportunity for the community to suggest a new name for the complex.

    “As works commence and the community can see things happening on site, it may generate additional name ideas for the new facility.”

    Name ideas can be submitted to the Community and Recreation Hub naming boxes located at the Civic Centre, Library and Main Corner Complex as well as online.

    Further information and updates on the project are available and interested persons can now subscribe to a newsletter via the Have Your Say site.


  • Hub naming consultation continues

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    02 July, 2019
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    The Regional Sport and Recreation Centre Committee discussed extending the opportunity for the community to suggest names for the Community and Recreation Hub at a meeting last night.

    In May, Council resolved to undertake a month long engagement program to invite the community to submit ideas for a name for the new facility with a view to shortlist up to five names to be put to a community vote.

    Community consultation commenced on Wednesday 22 May 2019 and concluded Sunday 23 June 2019. Council received 74 name submissions that were considered by the sub-committee.

    “Council is appreciative of all name submissions received during the consultation process and we thank all who participated at this stage. We want to assure the community that these ideas will be considered,” City of Mount Gambier Mayor Lynette Martin said.

    “From the ideas we received, it is clear that people want the name of the largest infrastructure project Council has ever undertaken to reflect a sense of pride of place. We saw multiple references to Mount Gambier, the Blue Lake and Olympic Park.”

    The Mayor indicated that all submitted names will be retained and the community consultation process will be extended over the coming months to allow for additional name ideas to be lodged as the project unfolds.

    “Council is now at the stage where we can begin to share updates on the detailed design of the project. This is important with regard to a potential name as we want to ensure that the community can really envisage what the hub will be and its importance within the community.”

    "Once the building starts to take shape, people may feel more connected with the project and have additional names that they may like to share."

    “Therefore, we continue to invite people to put their thinking caps on and keep their ideas flowing for a name as we move forward with the project over the coming months.”

    Name ideas can be submitted to the Community and Recreation Hub naming boxes located at the Civic Centre, Library and Main Corner Complex as well as online.

    The committee indicated that it is seeking a name that reflects the facility as a whole.

    “We’d like a name that represents the entire multi-purpose community space including facilities and activities for all ages and abilities, cultural and recreational activities, not just based on aquatics, or sport.”

    In the meantime, Council has been working with architects CO-OP Studio and DesignInc on the detailed design features within the Community and Recreation Hub.

    “We will be sharing what we can with the community as soon as we can, but have to be careful not to prejudice any future procurement work.”

    “The Community Reference Group will be part of the team providing advice to Council as we progress the detailed design and costings,” Mayor Martin said.

  • Aquatic Centre closure in 2019/2020 and 2020/2021

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    01 July, 2019
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    The 2019/2020 Mount Gambier Aquatic Centre swimming season will end one month earlier than usual to enable development work associated with the Mount Gambier Community and Recreation Hub and the 50 metre outdoor pool refurbishment to proceed. The Aquatic Centre located on Margaret Street will close on 29 February 2020 and the Olympic swimming pool will remain closed for the 2020/2021 season until the hub project is completed in late 2021.

    The seasonal public swimming pool precinct is owned by City of Mount Gambier and managed by Innovative Leisure Management Director Peter Collins. The centre usually opens during the warmer months from October through until April each year.

    “Council understands that the early closure of the Aquatic Centre in 2020 and no access to the pool for the 2020/2021 season will be an inconvenience to the community,” City of Mount Gambier Mayor Lynette Martin said.

    “However, this is a necessary transition period for development work to occur on site as Council must build and deliver the hub, the largest infrastructure project it has ever undertaken, by the end of 2021.”

    “The new facility will be worth the wait and will provide indoor climate controlled aquatics facilities accessible to the public all year round. It will include a learn to swim pool, children’s water splash/play area, a 25 metre pool and a warm water pool, in addition to the existing outdoor 50 metre pool.”

    The Aquatic Centre is currently used by individuals, children, families, schools and the Department for Education and Childhood Development (DECD) for swimming lessons, carnivals, early lap swimming, recreation, classes and competitive training sessions.

    Council is working with Innovative Leisure Management to manage the shortened upcoming season to create as little disruption as possible.

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