Page 1695 - Week 06 - Tuesday, 3 May 2005
and specifically considers transport and environmental issues. The recommendation further suggests that if unavailable in the 2005 and 2006 budget, delivered today, the issues raised should be addressed in a revised DV205 or in a new draft variation.
Various recommendations were made by the standing committee of the Fifth Assembly in relation to West Deakin, relating to limitation on building height and recommended consistency with the Deakin local area plan. The latter importantly prioritises making West Deakin a lively, accessible, safe and well-maintained commercial, professional and community environment with a strong commercial, professional and community spirit. This is reflected in the security concerns in recommendation 2, which seeks to ensure security lighting for nearby car parking facilities.
Refurbishment of the pool is clearly relevant to these ends, and throughout the plan the importance of public transport and environmental efficiency and minimal effect has been emphasised. These concerns were reflected in the consultation process undertaken by the proponent of the variation under statute and by the committee—particularly the poor quality of the infrastructure and the need for refurbishment of the swimming pool, as an important community facility, was highlighted. This is reflected in the current terms of DV205, which provides that the lease for the relevant block cannot be varied without refurbishment of the existing indoor swimming pool. The proponent objected to this requirement, on the basis that the pool has made substantial losses to date and that the company could not meet the cost of refurbishment unless the variation is approved. The committee recognises this concern about the costs associated with refurbishment to be borne by the private company.
It is the view of the committee that it would be more sensible to build an office block prior to refurbishment to allow the additional income generated to offset some of the refurbishment costs, and this was further recognised by developers who argued in public hearings that the development might no longer be economically viable. In saying so, however, it is important to recognise the significance of the pool facilities to the local community. This is recognised by the ACT government, which subsidises the operating costs of the swimming pool. The draft variation proposes a cross-subsidisation arrangement that is designed to enable the lessee to cover operational costs of the pool.
There is further concern that the ACT government is not exposed to the cost of refurbishment and that the pool remains open as a community facility for use. The committee has suggested in the report a performance bond approach to remedy these concerns and ensure the quality of community facilities available to residents of Deakin and the surrounding areas. This suggestion is reflected in recommendation 2 of the report, which suggests the building of office blocks prior to the refurbishment to offset costs, but the provision of the performance bonds, by the proponent to guarantee the quality of facilities for community use. Broad community support was expressed to the committee in public hearings for the refurbishment of the pool and, indeed, for enhancement of the facilities available to include a heated toddler pool, increased pool depth, and refurbishment of gym facilities and facilities for patients of neighbouring hospitals with disabilities, and for stretcher patients.
In particular, consideration was given to the provision of a hydrotherapy pool at the Oasis Leisure Centre for patrons with medical needs. The provision of these facilities would be at significantly increased cost to the proponent and could impact on the