Updated FAQ's - August 2021

    Who is the builder?

    Through a competitive tender process, Kane Constructions Pty Ltd has been awarded the construction contract. The company has significant design and construct experience in aquatic centres, recreation projects and community facilities. Kane Constructions Pty Ltd has a strong commitment to source materials and services from local and Australian suppliers to support local industry.


    When will building start on site?

    It is anticipated that the construction company will set up site office in September 2021 and prepare the site for demolition and building works to commence shortly after. It is expected the facility will take approximately 18-24 months to complete.

     

    What is the project?

    Built in 1968, NARC plays a key role in the health and wellbeing needs of the Darebin community. Although the centre has been upgraded over the years, NARC has reached the end of its serviceable life and requires redevelopment.

     

    What will be happening?

    The entire facility will be demolished to make way for the new building and new placement of the outdoor 50m pool.

     

    Will the redevelopment be completed in stages, so that it can continue to operate?

    It is not possible for the redevelopment to be completed in stages.  The proposed new development is extensive and access to the entire site will be needed for the construction of the new facility to take place.  Completing the new building and pool in one stage is also the fastest way that we can deliver the new upgraded facility for community use.

     

    Where can I access health, wellbeing and gym programs during the redevelopment period?

    As the centre requires full closure for the redevelopment to occur, onsite programs will not be offered. Instead, we encourage you to keep active, health and connected with the following options:

    • Council operated Reservoir Leisure Centre (RLC)
    • Council, in collaboration with the YMCA as the current operator at NARC and neighbouring Councils, has prepared a list of alternative facility options.

    If you are a current NARC member, you will receive communications directly from the YMCA regarding membership transition options and offers.

    Together with neighbouring local government facilities, there are numerous private providers. Community members are encouraged to visit those that may best meet individual needs.

     

    Where can we go for swimming lessons while NARC is closed? 

    There are a range of options available for swimming lessons:

    • Council’s Reservoir Leisure Centre (RLC) offers a comprehensive swim program.
    • YMCA managed facilities at Brunswick Baths and Coburg Leisure Centre offer the same swim program as NARC. Contact either facility directly to secure a class and special sign up option.
    • Banyule Council are able to offer swimming lessons at their Ivanhoe Aquatic facility.  

     

    What happens to my membership while NARC is closed?

    All membership direct debits will cease. As the managing operator of NARC, memberships are held with the YMCA at Northcote only.  Due to the lockdowns, some members may be eligible to receive refunds for credits that remain unused. Members will receive an email directly from YMCA management regarding the refund process.

     

    Will the tennis courts still be accessible? 

    Council is currently making arrangements to enable tennis programming to continue whilst the facility is closed. This may take some time to organise to ensure the tennis courts are safely operable and amenities are provided. Council is also investigating booking options for casual use.


    With the centre not reopening, what will happen to the staff?

    YMCA management are working closely with their staff to enable redeployment opportunities to other YMCA facilities wherever possible. Additionally, YMCA management will be made aware of any recruitment opportunities for staff at Reservoir Leisure Centre.


    How long will it take to build the new NARC?  When will it open?

    Council officers anticipate the construction period for the new facility will take up to two years, and the new NARC will be ready to open to the community in mid to late 2023.

     

    Have the Traditional Owners been consulted on the project?

    Council has consulted with the Traditional Owners, the Wurundjeri Woi wurrung, and sought feedback on the design of the facility.  Consultation with the Traditional Owners is ongoing throughout the project.  

     

    What will happen with all the equipment and furniture etc? 

    In line with Darebin Council’s environmental policy and asset removal policy, all equipment that can be re-purposed will be removed and re-used in other Council facilities.  A minimum of 90% of demolition material will be re-used, recycled or re-purposed, minimising landfill.  

     

    Is any of the gym equipment for sale?

    Council is intending to hold a public auction for the sale of gym equipment and other furniture and fittings within facility. This is in line with Council’s Asset Disposal Policy. We will keep the community updated as to how this will proceed. Additionally, all other equipment that can be re-purposed will be removed and re-used in other Council facilities. A minimum of 90% of demolition material will be re-used, recycled or re-purposed, minimising landfill.  


    What will happen with the water in the swimming pools?  

    Due to the water quality containing required chemicals for pool safety, the water cannot be recycled for irrigation purposes and all pools will be emptied.

     


     

    Project FAQ's - April 2020

    Why is Council redeveloping NARC?

    Built in 1968, NARC plays a key role in supporting the health and wellbeing needs of the Darebin community.  Although the centre has been upgraded over the years, NARC is reaching the end of its serviceable life and requires redevelopment.  


    How much is Council spending?

    Council is investing $63.5M to ensure NARC will continue to service the community for the next 50 years. This investment will ensure Darebin residents have access to a range of contemporary aquatic and leisure services and programs in a state of the art and environmentally sustainable facility.

    The $63.5M cost for the renewal of NARC is spread across the life of this multi-year project. The immediate spend on the renewal of NARC is projected to be $3M in the 20/21 draft budget, to continue the design phase of the project. This does not impact Council’s ability to support Darebin’s residents and local businesses and organisations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

    The project is costed at $63.5 million which includes design, demolition, construction, landscaping and fit out of equipment. While no two projects are the same, this budget is in line with current projects of a similar scope such as the full redevelopment of Kew Recreation Centre reported to be $67.5 million and building of a replacement St Albans Leisure Centre budgeted at more than $60 million.


    Why has Council prioritised this project over upgrades to Reservoir Leisure Centre?

    Some repair and minor upgrade works are currently taking place at Reservoir Leisure Centre (RLC) while the centre is closed. While NARC may appear ok to the eye in some regards, the facility is nearing its end of life, which is why these works have been prioritised over RLC. The overall condition of RLC is better than NARC, as identified in building audits, however there is also a longer term plan to redevelop RLC in the future. 

    A study investigating opportunities for the redevelopment of the RLC to enhance the health, wellbeing and socio-economic outcomes to the East Reservoir area is currently underway. The findings will be presented to Council later this year.


    What is happening? 

    Council have considered community feedback received in 2017 and the future needs and growth of the Darebin community.  Facilities at NARC will include: 

    Indoor 

    • Indoor 8 lane 25m pool

    • Indoor learn to swim / leisure pool

    • Ramp entries to pools

    • Indoor aquatic playground and toddler pool

    • Indoor warm water hydrotherapy pool

    • Steam, spa and sauna facilities

    • Gym and group fitness studios

    • Private consult rooms – for allied health services i.e. physiotherapy

    • Reformer pilates studio

    • Café

    • Change rooms including dedicated spaces for accessibility, gender neutral, changing places and school groups

    Outdoor 

    • Outdoor 10 lane 50m pool

    • Landscaped spectator area for carnivals and events

    • Outdoor nature play aquatic playground

    • Outdoor landscaped area for relaxation

    Access and Car Parking

    • Reconfigured traffic measures including:

        • New entry and exit to car park

        • Electric vehicle charging stations

        • Increased bicycle parking

        • Pick up / drop off zone

        • Bus parking

    There are now a greater number of facilities to be enjoyed indoors all year round, creating greater health and wellbeing outcomes for all members of the community.  


    What impact will the redevelopment have on the environment? 

    Council is committed to addressing the Climate Emergency and adopted the ESD Policy in 2018 to inform environmental goals and responsibilities for future projects.  

    NARC is striving to become the first indoor aquatic facility in Australia to reach a 6 Star Green Star Rating.  Launched by the Green Building Council of Australia in 2003, Green Star is Australia's only national and voluntary rating system for buildings and communities.

    A building with this rating is assessed on sustainable design, construction and operation and fit out.

    Some of the sustainable initiatives incorporated into the NARC project include: 

    • High performance insulated building envelope and double glazing

    • Aiming for all-electric heating, cooling and hot water system using air source heat pumps

    • Airtight facade to minimise heat loss that will be tested upon completion

    • Heat recovery ventilation that reuses otherwise wasted heat

    • Solar panels covering the roof (targeting ~500kW), with battery storage

    • Carbon neutral building in operation with 100% green power

    • Skylights within the pool hall to improve daylight amenity and establish greater connection to outdoors

    • Electric vehicle charging stations

    • Approximately 65 bicycle parks (numbers TBC once occupancy figures agreed)

    • Efficient fixtures and fittings on all sanitary ware, taps, showers, toilets etc.

    • Rainwater harvesting for landscaping and filtered rainwater for the swimming pool

    • Grey water re-use for toilet flushing

    • Ultra-fine filtration to the swimming pools to minimise water consumption and chemical use

    • Timber structure to the pool hall, significantly reducing the embodied carbon of the development

    • All timber to be Forest Stewardship Council certified to ensure it is sustainably managed. 

    • Predominantly native landscaping to reduce water needs and improve biodiversity

    • Pool covers to be used when the building is not in operation to save energy

    • LEDs throughout with daylight dimming.


    How will waste management be considered in the design and operations of the new facility?

    The aim will be to achieve zero waste and a circular economy. 

    The new facility will have bins for general waste, recycling and food waste.  Council will aim for no single use plastic or glass used at the café and staff/visitors will be encouraged to bring re-useable containers. There will be a compost bin on-site to be used in the proposed kitchen garden and excess food waste will be collected either by the council or a private contractor.  

    The option of re-useable drink containers that can be rented and returned by visitors will be explored.  Council will also investigate providing options for the community for additional recycling facilities (for example light globes and batteries etc)as provided in other community facilities within the municipality.


    How will trees be impact by the development?

    The total number of trees currently onsite is 247. The planned number to be retained is 182. The number of trees affected by the proposed design is 65 (Low retention value trees: 56 and medium: 9). No high retention value trees are affected by the current design. Of the trees that are removed, all Palms will be transplanted at a location within the municipality that will be confirmed by the Parks Department in due course. As the existing site has a dense cover of trees and as a minimum we would replace the same number of trees that will need to be removed or replanted.


    When will the redevelopment start? 

    The proposed layout/design for the new facility will require a full closure of the centre. Council investigated an option to design and build the new facility whilst maintaining current operations, however the design and functionality of the new facility was compromised. Exact dates are yet to be confirmed; however, we anticipate closure to take effect mid 2021 for approximately 18 to 24 months.  


    What will happen to my membership / fitness class/learn to swim class?

    We are currently exploring a range of alternative arrangements to support NARC members and the wider community to continue their health and fitness activities and will provide regular updates over the coming months. 


    How does COVID-19 Impact on this project?

    The design works program is not being impacted by the current health situation.  The Council and the design team are continuing to work through each of the design phases of the project.


    What’s next? 

    Detailed designs will be finalised including consideration of traffic impact, landscaping design and environmentally sustainable initiatives which will enable Council to deliver the NARC 6 Star Green Star certified design.

    An Expression of Interest seeking suitable contractors will be advertised. This will be followed by an extensive evaluation with construction anticipated to commence in mid-2021.

    Further project updates will be provided to the community in late 2020.

    New Facility FAQ's - April 2020

    Why is Council redeveloping NARC?

    Built in 1968, NARC plays a key role in supporting the health and wellbeing needs of the Darebin community.  Although the centre has been upgraded over the years, NARC is reaching the end of its serviceable life and requires redevelopment.  


    How much is Council spending?

    Council is investing $63.5M to ensure NARC will continue to service the community for the next 50 years. This investment will ensure Darebin residents have access to a range of contemporary aquatic and leisure services and programs in a state of the art and environmentally sustainable facility.

    The $63.5M cost for the renewal of NARC is spread across the life of this multi-year project. The immediate spend on the renewal of NARC is projected to be $3M in the 20/21 draft budget, to continue the design phase of the project. This does not impact Council’s ability to support Darebin’s residents and local businesses and organisations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

    The project is costed at $63.5 million which includes design, demolition, construction, landscaping and fit out of equipment. While no two projects are the same, this budget is in line with current projects of a similar scope such as the full redevelopment of Kew Recreation Centre reported to be $67.5 million and building of a replacement St Albans Leisure Centre budgeted at more than $60 million.


    Why has Council prioritised this project over upgrades to Reservoir Leisure Centre?

    Some repair and minor upgrade works are currently taking place at Reservoir Leisure Centre (RLC) while the centre is closed. While NARC may appear ok to the eye in some regards, the facility is nearing its end of life, which is why these works have been prioritised over RLC. The overall condition of RLC is better than NARC, as identified in building audits, however there is also a longer term plan to redevelop RLC in the future. 

    A study investigating opportunities for the redevelopment of the RLC to enhance the health, wellbeing and socio-economic outcomes to the East Reservoir area is currently underway. The findings will be presented to Council later this year.


    What is happening? 

    Council have considered community feedback received in 2017 and the future needs and growth of the Darebin community.  Facilities at NARC will include: 

    Indoor 

    • Indoor 8 lane 25m pool

    • Indoor learn to swim / leisure pool

    • Ramp entries to pools

    • Indoor aquatic playground and toddler pool

    • Indoor warm water hydrotherapy pool

    • Steam, spa and sauna facilities

    • Gym and group fitness studios

    • Private consult rooms – for allied health services i.e. physiotherapy

    • Reformer pilates studio

    • Café

    • Change rooms including dedicated spaces for accessibility, gender neutral, changing places and school groups

    Outdoor 

    • Outdoor 10 lane 50m pool

    • Landscaped spectator area for carnivals and events

    • Outdoor nature aquatic playground

    • Outdoor landscaped area for relaxation

    Access and Car Parking

    • Reconfigured traffic measures including:

        • New entry and exit to car park

        • Electric vehicle charging stations

        • Increased bicycle parking

        • Pick up / drop off zone

        • Bus parking

    All components of the proposed facility are fully accessible including ramps into all pools, a lift to the first floor, accessible change rooms located near the warm water pool and a changing places room as part of the main change area.


    DRY AREAS

    What is the health and wellness area?

    The proposed facility includes a room of over 700m2 providing cardio equipment (steppers, treadmills, rowers, bikes etc), pin loaded equipment, free weights and a functional gym equipment.  Four program rooms will be provided, suitable for a range of group fitness and wellness programs with specialist rooms for reformer pilates and spin classes. 


    What are the health suites?

    The health suites will provide for a range of allied health services and program to support the health and well being of Centre users.  These programs and services may include but are not limited to sports medicine specialists, physiotherapists, nutritionists, massage therapists etc 


    AQUATIC AREAS

    What is a warm water pool?

    The warm water pool will be a separate pool used for the purposes of therapeutic, rehabilitation and other aquatic based activities.  The pool will be heated to approximately 33 º - 35º and will range in depth from 900mm metres at the shallow end through to 1.5 metres at the deeper end.

    Fully accessible change rooms will be located next to the pool to assist people with mobility issues.


    What is a program pool?

    A separate pool will be developed primarily to service the learn to swim program needs of young children and other aquatic based programs.  The pool will be heated to approximately 31º - 33º and will range in depth from 900mm metres at the shallow end through to 1.2 metres at the deeper end.


    What will the leisure water play area include?

    Two leisure water areas will be provided for young people of all ages. The indoor aqua play area will be based on a zero-depth aquatic playground and will include a range of interactive play features.  The outdoor area will be more nature based and will provide a free form area for play and cooling down during the warmer weather. Both areas will provide a fun and exciting environment for young people.


    Where will change rooms be located?

    To ensure easy access to change room facilities by all Centre users a range of change facilities will be provided.  The aquatic change rooms will include – male/female change rooms, a change village with a range of individual gender neutral and family change cubicles, a changing places facility and a number of accessible change rooms. Separate dry change rooms will be provided to support participants in the health and wellness area. 

    After people have passed through the reception area, they will be able to select their personally preferred change/toilet/bathroom area from those available. Council anticipates that people who prefer gender neutral toilets will choose those facilities.

    Formal consultation with culturally and faith diverse groups has been undertaken as part of the redesign and the needs and concerns of participants have been responded to.

    Separate group/school change facilities will also be developed to support ongoing use of the Centre by schools and swimming events. 


    What crèche facilities will be provided?

    A purpose-built crèche/multipurpose room will be established.  The crèche will provide a 24 place service and may provide an alternate program space when not in use for child minding purposes. 


    What impact will the redevelopment have on the environment? 

    Council is committed to addressing the Climate Emergency and adopted the ESD Policy in 2018 to inform environmental goals and responsibilities for future projects.  

    NARC is striving to become the first indoor aquatic facility in Australia to reach a 6 Star Green Star Rating.  Launched by the Green Building Council of Australia in 2003, Green Star is Australia's only national and voluntary rating system for buildings and communities.

    A building with this rating is assessed on sustainable design, construction and operation and fit out.

    Some of the sustainable initiatives incorporated into the NARC project include: 

    • Carbon neutral building in operation with 100% green power. 

    • Rainwater harvesting for swimming pool and landscaping.

    • Grey water use for toilet flushing.

    • Double glazed windows.

    • Electric heating, cooling and hot water systems using source heat pumps.

    • Airtight façade (tested upon completion).

    • Timber structure (Forest Stewardship Council) to the pool hall. 

    • Heat recovery ventilation to reuse otherwise wasted heat. 

    • Solar panels to be installed on the roof, with battery storage. 

    • Predominately native landscaping to reduce water use and improve biodiversity.

    • Energy efficient fixtures, fittings and lighting.

    • Approximately 65 bicycle parks (numbers TBC once occupancy figures agreed)

    • LEDs throughout with daylight dimming.

    There are currently 247 trees onsite with planned retention of 182 trees.  No high retention value trees are affected by the proposed design.


    When will the redevelopment start? 

    The proposed layout/design for the new facility will require a full closure of the centre. Council investigated an option to design and build the new facility whilst maintaining current operations, however the design and functionality of the new facility was compromised. Exact dates are yet to be confirmed; however, we anticipate closure to take effect mid 2021 for approximately 18 to 24 months.  


    What will happen to my membership / fitness class/learn to swim class?

    We are currently exploring a range of alternative arrangements to support NARC members and the wider community to continue their health and fitness activities and will provide regular updates over the coming months. 


    How does COVID-19 impact on this project?

    The design works program is not being impacted by the current health situation.  Council and the design team are continuing to work through each of the design phases of the project.


    What’s next? 

    We are currently seeking your feedback on the current concept designs.  This feedback will be provided to the design team for consideration in the next phase of schematic design.  Feedback will close on May 3 2020.

    Work will continue on schematic designs, which we anticipate releasing for community viewing later in 2020.  

    Council will also liaise with local residents regarding impacts of construction on local traffic and surrounding streets.