SMALL shovelfuls of earth last week ceremoniously marked the start of construction work on the Rosebud Aquatic Centre.
No hard hats or hi vis work wear was needed when the mayor, Cr David Gill was joined by Crs Kate Roper and Antonella Celi and Nepean MP Chris Brayne to break ground for the $42 million centre.
Mr Brayne noted that the project’s “long history” almost equalled his own lifespan of 25 years.
The turning of the sod follows the awarding last month to Port Melbourne-based Buxton Constructions of a $39.4 million contract to build the aquatic centre.
Council also agreed to an undisclosed “contingency sum”.
This month the shire is looking to hire “an expert facility operator” to manage the centre.
Belgravia Leisure is paid by the shire to manage and operate the Pelican Park Recreation Centre in Hastings, Mornington’s Civic Reserve Recreation Centre, the Somerville Health & Fitness Studio, Crib Point Pool and Western Port Gymnastics at the Hastings Hub.
The shire says that at the Rosebud Aquatic centre it will control such business functions as asset management, utilities, maintenance, fees and charges and employment of the centre manager.
The building works at Rosebud being done by Buxton include an indoor 50-metre competition pool; learn-to-swim pool; warm water program pool; aqua play/splash deck; wellness centre; and gymnasium. Other rooms include a cafe, school group and family change rooms.
Cr Gill said the centre’s operator “work alongside” the shire “under a fee for service agreement”.
“Council is looking for the best people to manage the facility, which is one of the biggest projects in the shire’s history,” he said.
That aquatic centre will have “the maximum number of solar panels possible … whilst maintaining safe roof access and symmetry for aesthetic purposes”.
The expanded solar system finally agreed to by council added an extra $423,000 to building costs.
Mr Brayne said “all the praise for this project is owed to the council staff, councillors of multiple different council terms and the public who have watched this project’s long history with an unrivalled patience”.