An artist?s impression of the Goonellabah recreation centre.
An artist?s impression of the Goonellabah recreation centre.

$17 MILLION RECREATION CENTRE UNVEILED

ALEX EASTON

GOONELLABAH will have a $17 million recreation centre, complete with waterslide, by the end of August next year under plans to be debated by Lismore.

After years of planning and consultation, councillors will tomorrow night vote on a preferred tenderer for the centre, with work to begin in as little as four months.

Mayor Merv King said the recreation centre, once built, would combine with the expanded Goonellabah Village shopping centre to form a thriving heart to a thriving community.

"I think that with the fact that you have the shopping centre and everything there, it will be the centre of Goonellabah. There's no two ways about that and people will get a lot of use out of it," Cr King said.

"Goonellabah has good roads and shops ? it's not done too badly. But there's not much by way of recreation facilities and this is something that's badly needed."

A report to the council recommends it award the contract to Queensland construction company SPANTECH, which has combined with the Facility Design Group.

The same team was responsible for building Trinity Catholic College Lismore's sports complex.

The other company in the running for the centre is Lahey Constructions.

Councillors will tomorrow be asked to choose between the companies and to approve a bid by council staff to secure a loan to pay for construction.

The loan would also have to be approved by the Department of Local Government.

Once complete, the recreation centre will include an indoor pool with a spiral waterslide that loops out of the main building, activity rooms, sports courts, a cr?che, a skatepark, an outdoor play area and a caf? and kiosk.

The report to the council says the final price for the centre had come in about $3 million beyond the expected bill. That would force the council to increase its borrowings and could delay some long-term projects.

Cr Jenny Dowell, who is on the centre's project committee, said she did not expect delays to impact on Lismore's planned new regional art gallery, but conceded it could impact on the way the cultural precinct project was staged.

Cr King said some of the extra cost could be offset in the future through the sale of property that had been bought in a parcel with the land the recreation centre would be built on, but which was not needed for the project.

Also likely to cost more than expected was the skate park. Initially costed at $120,000, the report warns councillors the final bill for the park is likely to come to $220,000.

The report warns the council still had considerable work to do with the skate park and recommends hiving it off the main recreation centre contract so it could be finalised separately.

However, it was expected the skate park would be complete in time to open with the rest of the centre in 2008.



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