Northcote Aquatic and Recreation Centre Redevelopment Project

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Construction Contract Award Announcement

At the Ordinary Council Meeting held on Monday 23rd August 2021, after a competitive tender process, Darebin Council awarded the construction contract for redevelopment of the Northcote Aquatic and Recreation Centre (NARC) to Kane Constructions Pty Ltd.

The new NARC will be a 6 Star Green Star rated facility: the highest rating possible in the Green Building Council of Australia’s sustainability rating system, demonstrating Council’s commitment to and leadership in responding to the climate emergency.

The design has been shaped by community consultation and completed by Warren and Mahoney Australia.

Darebin Council has also consulted significantly with the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation throughout the development of the design of the facility and the landscaping. Consultation remains ongoing throughout the project to achieve integrated outcomes.

Once completed, the new NARC will offer indoor and outdoor pools as well as increased opportunities to participate in health and wellbeing activities, through larger and additional programming spaces and an added warm water pool for exercise and rehabilitation.

Together with improved health and wellbeing outcomes for our community, the construction project for NARC will also bring economic benefits. During the construction period, it is expected the project will generate over 230 jobs (construction, manufacturing and professional services), and over 120 jobs once the new facility is operational.

The construction of the new facility is expected to take 18-24 months. We will keep on providing updates throughout the build to our community.


Check out an artist's impression of the new facility!


The Northcote Aquatic and Recreation Project is supported by the Victoria Government.


During the redevelopment:

To help NARC members continue their health and wellbeing activities, Council has been working behind the scenes with the current operator, the YMCA, as well as some of our neighbouring Councils, to provide alternative fitness and swimming options for you to consider.

These include options and discounts for health club memberships, swimming lessons and older adult programs at other venues.

View more information on what nearby swimming and gym options are available.

You might also like to read the FAQs relating to the closure and memberships.


Tennis Court Access

To make a casual booking for the tennis courts please head to https://play.tennis.com.au/northcotetennis

You will be sent an email upon confirmation of your booking that will contain gate access information.



Project Background

The renewal of the Northcote Aquatic and Recreation Centre (NARC) is part of the Darebin Council Plan 2017–2021, supporting our goal to expand opportunities for participation and social connection through sport, physical activity and other leisure activities.

After community consultation and a feasibility study, the design concept was prepared.

You can still view the concept designs for the proposed renewal of NARC (on the right).

To find out more about the project including the community consultation, you can view the NARC project background document.

At the ordinary Council Meeting on Monday 17 August 2020 Council endorsed the procurement approach for the construction tender, commencing with seeking expressions of interest from suitable contractors.

More details on the procurement process can be found in the Council Report.



If you would like to speak to someone in your preferred language, please contact us or call 8470 8470 to be connected to a Language Aide or an interpreter.

Construction Contract Award Announcement

At the Ordinary Council Meeting held on Monday 23rd August 2021, after a competitive tender process, Darebin Council awarded the construction contract for redevelopment of the Northcote Aquatic and Recreation Centre (NARC) to Kane Constructions Pty Ltd.

The new NARC will be a 6 Star Green Star rated facility: the highest rating possible in the Green Building Council of Australia’s sustainability rating system, demonstrating Council’s commitment to and leadership in responding to the climate emergency.

The design has been shaped by community consultation and completed by Warren and Mahoney Australia.

Darebin Council has also consulted significantly with the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation throughout the development of the design of the facility and the landscaping. Consultation remains ongoing throughout the project to achieve integrated outcomes.

Once completed, the new NARC will offer indoor and outdoor pools as well as increased opportunities to participate in health and wellbeing activities, through larger and additional programming spaces and an added warm water pool for exercise and rehabilitation.

Together with improved health and wellbeing outcomes for our community, the construction project for NARC will also bring economic benefits. During the construction period, it is expected the project will generate over 230 jobs (construction, manufacturing and professional services), and over 120 jobs once the new facility is operational.

The construction of the new facility is expected to take 18-24 months. We will keep on providing updates throughout the build to our community.


Check out an artist's impression of the new facility!


The Northcote Aquatic and Recreation Project is supported by the Victoria Government.


During the redevelopment:

To help NARC members continue their health and wellbeing activities, Council has been working behind the scenes with the current operator, the YMCA, as well as some of our neighbouring Councils, to provide alternative fitness and swimming options for you to consider.

These include options and discounts for health club memberships, swimming lessons and older adult programs at other venues.

View more information on what nearby swimming and gym options are available.

You might also like to read the FAQs relating to the closure and memberships.


Tennis Court Access

To make a casual booking for the tennis courts please head to https://play.tennis.com.au/northcotetennis

You will be sent an email upon confirmation of your booking that will contain gate access information.



Project Background

The renewal of the Northcote Aquatic and Recreation Centre (NARC) is part of the Darebin Council Plan 2017–2021, supporting our goal to expand opportunities for participation and social connection through sport, physical activity and other leisure activities.

After community consultation and a feasibility study, the design concept was prepared.

You can still view the concept designs for the proposed renewal of NARC (on the right).

To find out more about the project including the community consultation, you can view the NARC project background document.

At the ordinary Council Meeting on Monday 17 August 2020 Council endorsed the procurement approach for the construction tender, commencing with seeking expressions of interest from suitable contractors.

More details on the procurement process can be found in the Council Report.



If you would like to speak to someone in your preferred language, please contact us or call 8470 8470 to be connected to a Language Aide or an interpreter.

Thank you for your questions!

Ask us anything about this project!

  • Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    $63 million seems an amazing amount of money. 1. Has this been compared with the new Kew Recreation centre Boroondara? Theirs is $67 mil. what is value? Are all ages and abilities cared for? Is parking going to be available for visitors to the centre and not for the multi storey units next door? Is their a hydro pool for rehab and arthritis suffers?

    newmanpamela asked over 1 year ago

    Thanks for your questions.

    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.

    The proposed centre is designed for all ages and abilities and is guided by Universal Design Principles.

    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.

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    Is the Group fitness room as big as the current area? Can you please provide the respective measurements as a comparison. Thanks

    Debbie Richards asked over 1 year ago

    Thanks for your question.

    The group fitness room in the new facility is proposed to be 270m2 - which is over 50m2 larger than the current room at NARC. Additionally there will be a 100m2 dedicated spin room, 150m2 wellness room and 90m2 room for reformer pilates.  We believe the combination of facilities proposed within the new facility will meet the current and future needs of the growing community.

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    Congrats on providing separate gym amenities, this is a great improvement for gym users.

    rednblue132000 asked over 1 year ago

    Thank you for your positive feedback.

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    What facilities are you providing for school groups to change? I note that the current changing space for boys is inadequate. Note that many teachers and most of the volunteers are female so we need an adequate space for females to supervise young school boys changing.

    rednblue132000 asked over 1 year ago

    Separate group/school change facilities are proposed in the new facility designs support ongoing use of the Centre by schools and swimming events.

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    How many family showers will be provided? The current one is inadequate.

    rednblue132000 asked over 1 year ago

    Thanks for your feedback and question.

    We are aware of the limited change facilities for families and people with a disability currently at NARC. There will be a number of family change/shower cubicles within the new facility, however the exact number is yet to be determined. That will be confirmed in the next stage of design.

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    The plans mention the provision of "ample bicycle parking". Having lived in the Netherlands I have some idea about what "ample bicycle parking" might look like but would fear that this is not put into practice at the new NARC. Specific question: How many lots will there be for bicycles, in particular in comparison to those for cars. Personally, I think that the design should encourage physical activity, not only within the facility but also outside. (I understand though that there are people who are reliant on access by car.)

    ThomasQ asked over 1 year ago

    Thanks for your feedback and questions. To ensure that your valuable comments are captured, please consider taking the survey via the link above and provide your comments where prompted.

    The cycle parking numbers are not yet confirmed as this stage of design, however there will be a number of bike loops and secure parking options for bicyle travellers.

    As part of this project, and a wider Darebin Council Strategy, we are advocating for patrons to use more sustainable transport options where possible.

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    As other people I am wondering about the limited outdoor facilities for smaller kids. Let me as a specific question in this context: Is enough seating provided in the vicinity of the outdoor splash area? Obviously young kids need to be supervised to some extent...

    ThomasQ asked over 1 year ago

    Thanks for your feedback and questions. To ensure that your valuable comments are captured, please consider taking the survey via the link above and provide your comments where prompted.

    The area surrounding the outdoor splash desk will include seating to ensure adequate supervision of children.

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    It is disappointing that you have reduced the outside pools. A 50m pool is too deep for younger children and it is also important to have them separated from older more active teenagers and lap swimmers.

    Bec asked over 1 year ago

    Thanks for your feedback and questions. To ensure that your valuable comments are captured, please consider taking the survey via the link above and provide your comments where prompted.


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    My question is around the availability of the swimming pools during peak times to the general public. In my view, regardless of the new design of the centre and the number of pools proposed the primary issue has always been the lack of availability of lanes to the general public during peak times as the swimming club (squad and water polo) and YMCA (squad and lessons) occupy the majority of the lanes. Most weeknights there are only 1-2 outdoor lanes and nil indoor lanes available for the general public until 8pm. Saturday morning no lanes are available indoors until after midday and limited availability in the outdoor pool until 11am. Will the allocation of lap lane availability improve going forward and current contracts reviewed for fairness to the general public?

    Stephen asked over 1 year ago

    Thanks for your feedback and questions. To ensure that your valuable comments are captured, please consider taking the survey via the link above and provide your comments where prompted.

    All lane space allocation will be reviewed whilst the facility is closed to ensure equity between all users of the new facility.

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    Will there be more shading outside? The outdoor splash area will need a shade sail or similar, is this in the plan? Where will outdoor swimmers put bag/towels under cover if dont want to purchase a locker? Internal seating on the concept drawing for learn to swim parents looks inadequate, will this be looked at? Will the exterior doors/walls be able to be raised/opened during summer to allow fresh air into the pool area, so not stifled with chlorine as in current situation?

    elyce capp asked over 1 year ago

    Thanks for your feedback and questions. To ensure that your valuable comments are captured, please consider taking the survey via the link above and provide your comments where prompted.

    There will be shading outdoors to assist with sun and year round weather protection - that exact type and location will be determined in the next phase of the design.

    The project is targeting a 6 Star Green Star rating, which requires it to have an airtight insulated building envelope to maximise performance, therefore the current design does not allow for bifold doors. The internal air handling system will perform much more efficiently than the current facility.

Page last updated: 13 October 2021, 09:56