What is the status of the Community and Recreational Hub project now?

The work continues from here behind the scenes to deliver the largest infrastructure project Council has ever undertaken to our community by the end of 2021. This includes a feasibility review into the use of timber as a feature and as part of the structure.

In consultation with Council, Architects DesignInc and Co-Op Studio have provided a preliminary project plan outlining timelines for the next stage of the project. Council is working with the design team to establish the draft implementation plan as a work in progress which will be further refined moving forward.

When will construction begin?

Preliminary work has begun on site at Olympic Park. You won’t physically see works happening on site for a few months, but there is a lot going on in the background including development approvals, the commencement of soil and water testing and the timber feasibility study.

Why does Mount Gambier need a Community and Recreation Hub?

The Community and Recreation Hub will provide for improved health and wellbeing outcomes through increased participation in exercise. It will also provide opportunities to further develop event tourism and provide new employment through additional recreation programs, operations and asset management.

Many sports facilities in Mount Gambier are ageing. Council is looking to the future to ensure our community has access to a multi-purpose modern facility for basketball, tennis, netball, aquatics, other sports and community activities.

Who will use the Community and Recreation Hub?

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 and those with special needs. Uses will include toddlers enjoying the splash zone, children learning to swim, the elderly participating in water aerobics classes, sporting clubs hiring courts, fitness trainers, mums and dads enjoying a coffee with a baby in the crèche and youth programs.

The community and recreation hub promotes an active, healthy lifestyle and will be an inclusive meeting and community space.

How was the Community and Recreation Hub designed?

The Community Reference Group (CRG) provided major input into the design and functions of the hub. In addition, Council staff collated information from a range of other stakeholders in the community. Ideas were gained from service clubs, children from junior primary to high schools, the Council’s Youth Advisory Group and those with an interest in music, dance and performance. The design process has benefitted from a broad cross section of the community providing valuable input into the design process.

What will the Community and Recreation Hub be used for?

The modern facility is a community hub with a multi-purpose design to complement existing facilities and become a focal point for Mount Gambier’s recreation, community activities and functions. 

Proposed uses:
  • Venue for large conference events and performances for more than 1000 people, including breakout and smaller conference / meeting rooms. Versatile
  • spaces with a stage for live performances, retractable seating, efficient acoustics, projection and IT facilities.
  • Six regulation size, multi-purpose courts for ball sports such as netball,
  • basketball, indoor soccer and volleyball. Courts can be used for badminton, carpet bowls and a range of other recreation and fitness purposes.
  • Aquatics including a learn to swim pool, children’s water splash/play area, 25 metre pool and a warm water pool. All facilities will be to regulation size with disability access.
  • Youth spaces, a need that has been identified by Council’s recently completed youth plan.
  • Amenities associated with the facility include a crèche, café, office space for sporting groups and allied health, storage and a major focus on disability access.
  • Gym and fitness spaces located on the first floor along with community and conference rooms with associated amenities. Seating is also provided on the first floor, overlooking the six multi-purpose courts.
  • The current 50 metre pool (and grass surrounds) will be retained along with its heating and mechanical services for summer use, within easy access to the proposed facility.
  • The exterior features include increased car parking, undercover drop off areas and a paved and landscaped entrance.

Why is Council doing this, the community just wanted an indoor pool?

Several of our sporting and recreation facilities will need either major refurbishment or a complete rebuild in coming years, in particular the Aquatic Centre and the Ice House. Council has worked with various sporting clubs and members of the community to develop the intermediate designs to ensure they will meet their needs now and for many decades into the future. The community and Council have seized the opportunity to secure Federal and State grants to move this project. To meet the requirements for the federal funding the facility must be multipurpose and a space for the whole community, not just select sports. The inclusion of additional and multipurpose facilities helps to guarantee the viability of the hub by offsetting some of the operational costs through additional income. 

Why is it a Community and Recreation Hub and not just an indoor pool?

Within the next 10 to 20 years several of our major sporting and recreation facilities will need either major refurbishment or a complete rebuild, in particular the Aquatic Centre and the Ice House. The community and Council have seized the opportunity to secure Federal and State grants to move this project forward.

The Community and Recreation Hub is a unique facility that will provide a range of community, sporting, all weather uses in one central location.

The intermediate design provides for the following facilities:
  • Conference, events and performance space, adaptable for many users with 1000 person plus capacity.
  • Six indoor multi-purpose courts catering for all sports from indoor bowls, traditional ball sports, gymnastics and dance.
  • All year round aquatics facility including children’s water play, learn to swim pool, 25 metre pool and warm water pool.
  • Community and function Rooms.
  • Fitness and gym areas.
  • Dedicated youth space.
  • Increased ability to attract major State and National sporting competitions, conferences, events and performances of significant social and economic benefit.

Why doesn’t the Community and Recreation Hub include a 50 metre indoor pool?

A 50 metre indoor pool would substantially add to the capital cost (several million dollars) and the operational costs of the facility including heating a much larger body of water and climate control for a larger internal space. The vast majority of recreational pools are 25 metres, both regional and suburban. The community will have access to the current 50 metre heated outdoor pool for six months each year during the main swimming season (October to April).

Will the Community and Recreation Centre have a hydrotherapy pool?

No. The Community and Recreation Centre will feature a warm water program pool for swimming, exercise and relaxation.

Boandik Lodge is currently planning to establish a hydrotherapy and rehabilitation pool which will be available for community use.

What is the capital cost of the Community and Recreation Centre?

The capital cost of the Community and Recreation Centre is $39.1 million. Funding has been confirmed from both the Federal Government for $15 million and the State Government for $10 million. The remainder of funds will be contributed by Council. The contribution will be approximately $14.1 million made up of savings, loans and a portion of the annual capital works budget. 

How will Council receive the capital Federal and State Government funds for the Community and Recreation Hub project?

Council will receive funding from Federal and State Governments retrospectively, after the completion of milestones associated with the project build. This means that Council will undertake a careful cash management process moving forward to ensure borrowing and expenditure is adjusted accordingly along the way through modelling within the Long Term Financial Plan.

How much of Council’s 2019/2020 operational budget will go towards the Community and Recreation Hub project?

$2.4 million in capital expenditure has been allocated in the draft 2019/2020 Annual Business Plan and Budget to go towards the initial stage of the Mount Gambier Community and Recreation Hub project.

What is the operating cost of the Community and Recreation Centre?



The operating expenditure chart provides some comparative costs with the green section comprising services such as tourism, development planning, customer service, arts and culture, Carinya Gardens Cemetery, events and community grants.

The proposed annual operating cost to Council is $1.4million which represents about 4% of Council’s operating expenditure in 2021/2022. 

With community endorsement through the survey and confirmed State and Federal Government funding, Council will continue to closely monitor expenditure from 2019 to prepare for the project while maintaining current services.

The process is the same as an individual saving to build or buy a house. Once the decision is made, savings and spending patterns focus on the desired goal.

Will existing services be reduced to fund the operating cost?

No. Council will continue to improve its budget position to enable the $1.4 million cost to be included within our normal annual operating budget from 2020/21.

How much will my rates go up?

The financial model for both the capital and operating costs indicates that there will be no increase in rates specifically to fund the Community and Recreation Hub.

If rates do not go up, how will Council afford it?

  • Council has a three year preparation horizon allowing us to financially prepare.
  • We have minimal levels of debt with low repayments.
  • We have completed the majority of large projects around the City.

Council has been fortunate to receive more than $10 million in grant funding from the government to help fund previous capital projects and this has put us in a sound financial position with very low loan borrowings. It is anticipated that up to 75% of the capital costs for this project will be met by Federal and State Government grant funding.

By maintaining current rate levels at 4.5%, Council will be in a position to have the operating budget to afford the $1.4 million net operating cost in three years time. There is no further increase in rates required to specifically fund the Community and Recreation Hub, should all grants be received from the Federal and State Government.

The annual costs for the existing aquatics facility is in excess of $400,000 and these costs will be reallocated to the new facility.

How much will it cost to use the Community and Recreation Hub?

Charges will apply for individuals, groups and organisations to use the facility. The charges will be based on current costs to use facilities such as the Aquatic Centre and comparing costs with other similar facilities in regional South Australia.

When will the proposed Community and Recreation Hub be built?

The Community and Recreation Hub project is expected be completed by the end of 2021.

Community and Recreation Hub Tenancies

Which groups are immediately impacted by the Community and Recreation Hub development?

The Council owned facilities occupied by the Open Door Baptist Church, Girl Guides and a section of courts used by the Mount Gambier Netball Association will be directly impacted due to the footprint of the new facility. 

To find suitable solutions for these tenants Council has reviewed a number of community facilities not located within the immediate vicinity of the Community and Recreation Hub site. As a result Council is currently in conversation with other user groups who may be impacted by subsequent relocations.

The Girl Guides were advised that the building they occupy would not be affected by the Community and Recreation Hub, why has this changed?

As the development plans for the Community and Recreation Hub have further progressed it has now emerged that in order to meet fire safety compliance requirements the Council owned building located at O’Halloran Terrace currently occupied by Girl Guides will be removed.

Why are these tenants being displaced?

The Council owned building currently occupied by Girl Guides located on O’Halloran Terrace will need to be removed in order to meet fire safety compliance requirements. This has emerged as the development process for the Community and Recreation Hub has progressed.

The Council owned building currently occupied by Open Door Baptist Church at 12 O’Halloran Terrace will need to be removed due to its immediate location within the site footprint of the Community and Recreation Hub building itself.

What is Council doing to assist these groups?

Council acknowledge that there will be a level of disruption experienced by a number of community groups during this period and is committed to working together with the displaced groups in order to facilitate outcomes that are fair and reasonable to meet the needs of those affected. 

Council is committed to working together with these groups in order to achieve an outcome that is suitable for their identified use and to reasonably address their needs.

Council will continue to work with these groups to ensure the transitional sites are suitable and will provide assistance where possible with the relocation.

See you at ____? - Do you have an idea for a name for the new facility?

How can I submit a suggested name for the Community and Recreation Hub?

Ideas and contributions can be submitted in the Community and Recreation Hub naming boxes located at the Civic Centre, Library and Main Corner Complex as well as online.

Can I submit more than one suggested name?

Yes, you can submit more than one suggested name.

How will the suggested names for the Community and Recreation Hub be shortlisted?

To be considered, name suggestions must address the following selection criteria: 
Communicate something meaningful,
Distinctive, easy to remember, say and spell,
Future oriented e.g. positioned for growth, change and success,
Representative of the community and broader region,
Reflective of the ancient or modern history of the site or region,
The name does not represent an individual community member,
The name is visual e.g. will lend itself to graphic presentation in a logo, in text and in brand architecture.

Up to five appropriate name submissions will be selected by Council to progress to a community vote to decide on the final name.