PROJECT STARTED: Hutchinson Builders' Nick Coltup, Flynn MP Ken O'Dowd, Cr Gail Nixon, Cr Kevin Pickersgill, Cr Kev Cracknell and Blackwater Coal Production manager Doug MacGibbon at the sod turning.
PROJECT STARTED: Hutchinson Builders' Nick Coltup, Flynn MP Ken O'Dowd, Cr Gail Nixon, Cr Kevin Pickersgill, Cr Kev Cracknell and Blackwater Coal Production manager Doug MacGibbon at the sod turning. Contributed

Sod turns new chapter for aquatic centre

CONSTRUCTION has officially begun on the new Blackwater Aquatic Centre in Hunter St.

The sod turning ceremony was held at the project site on Friday and attended by federal member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd and Central Highlands mayor Peter Maguire.

The project is a joint effort, funded by the Australian Government through the second round of the National Stronger Regions Fund and the Central Highlands Regional Council, who both contributed $6.2 million for the $14.8m development and fit-out of the new centre.

BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance will also provide $2.3m towards the project.

Mr O'Dowd said the new facility would provide a modern water space for the whole community to enjoy.

It will feature three pools, including a splash pad, a covered and heated 25-metre activity pool and a partially covered 50m, 10 lane competition pool which meets Swimming Australia Guidelines, allowing Blackwater to host regional athletic meets.

Besides the three pools, the new aquatic centre will boast a multi-purpose meeting room, a kiosk, bike racks for 20 bikes and parking for 50 cars. Construction is expected to be complete by early 2017, creating 50 jobs during construction and another five ongoing jobs once construction is complete.

Centre timeline

March 2013: Funding in place for aquatic centre to go ahead

July 2013: 200 unmarked graves located and halts construction

April 2015: New plans for relocated aquatic centre unveiled

March 2016: Sod turning to begin construction

January 2017: Expected completion of new centre


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