Residents from Kensington and across the city will have access to a new swimming pool, super-sized gym and more indoor sports courts when the revamped recreation and aquatic centre opens next year.
The Kensington Community Aquatic and Recreation Centre, developed together with the community, will deliver modern health and wellness facilities to the growing neighbourhood.
Works are well underway to redevelop the once beloved yet tired centre, with City of Melbourne investing $68 million to build a brand new, state-of-the-art facility.
Lord Mayor Sally Capp said the centre will cater for the Kensington population now, and well into the future.
“More than half the households in Kensington are families – making it one of the most popular suburbs in our municipality to raise children,” the Lord Mayor said.
“Features like the outdoor children’s water play area are a direct result of our consultation with the community, and we’re supporting healthy ageing through building new spaces for group fitness classes.
“We’re doing what counts, ensuring access to health and wellness is embedded in the Kensington community for decades to come.”
Works are progressing well following the safe removal of asbestos contaminated materials, with the centre on track to open in 2025.
Did you know?
So far, we’ve removed about 40,000 tonnes of soil from the construction site. That’s almost equal to 650 trams.
Key milestones in the first half of 2024 include finishing work on the facade and roof, the structure frame of the new stadium, installation of sports court flooring and fitting services such as electrical and plumbing.
While construction continues inside the centre, the Lord Mayor encouraged the community to get excited about the new services that will be available. The centre will continue to be managed by YMCA Victoria, delivering community-focused health and wellness programs for everyone passing through the centre doors.
The new indoor 25-metre pool will include eight swim lanes – adding to the City of Melbourne’s suite of aquatic centres across the municipality.
“We know swimming is an important part of our community’s health goals. We want to encourage confidence in the water from a young age, which is why we’ve included a dedicated Learn to Swim pool,” the Lord Mayor said.
“This means lessons can operate without disrupting lap swimming. We’ve also included a ‘wet lounge’ so parents and families can watch on as their youngsters learn to swim.”
Blinds will be installed so the pool hall can be sectioned off, allowing for women’s only swim classes and sessions – a feature that’s proved popular at Melbourne City Baths.
City of Melbourne’s Property Infrastructure and Design Acting General Manager Jonathan Kambouris said progress on the project was picking up pace heading into 2024.
“Kensington residents keeping an eye on the site will have noticed a flurry of activity at the end of 2023 as we installed the framing and walls for the stadium. We also finished the concrete slab pours for the ground and first floors,” Mr Kambouris said.
“In line with the City of Melbourne’s commitment to sustainable building practises, the centre will feature solar panels and run entirely on renewable energy – no gas – and employ recovery technology to use otherwise wasted heat, generated by air conditioning, for the warm indoor pool.
“While we did have to remove some trees to allow for the centre’s expansion, we’ve upcycled some of those trees into playground furniture at the nearby Kensington Community Children’s Co-operative. Once the building is finished, we’ll be replanting those trees and adding more.”
The centre’s new stadium will be triple the size of the original facility – with three courts able to host simultaneous activity. The multi-purpose floors mean all the favourites – basketball, netball and futsal – will be catered for, alongside other sports like badminton and volleyball.
Group fitness classes such as cardio, spin, yoga and pilates can be hosted in new program rooms, while the upgraded gym will include cardio machines, weights and a stretching zone – and will be four times bigger than the original gym space.
The new centre’s main entrance will be from JJ Holland Reserve, providing seamless transition between the park and the interior. A new cafe will be publicly accessible – not just available to centre patrons.
What’s in the new Kensington Community Recreation and Aquatic Centre?
- a 25-metre pool featuring eight lanes
- a dedicated learn-to-swim pool
- children’s water play zone
- improved gym facilities
- three full-sized multipurpose courts
- health and wellness areas
- four large flexible spaces suitable for a range of classes and community uses
- accessible change rooms, including a Changing Places change room
- a new cafe