St Albans Leisure Centre $41.3 million facelift approved

The popular St Albans Leisure Centre is to get a $41.3 million makeover.

Brimbank council has released a business case for the Taylors Road centre, which has been in a “declining state” for years.

A feasibility study, endorsed by Brimbank council administrators at an October 28 meeting, recommended that the upgraded development include a new Keilor Downs Community Centre.

Brimbank council’s administrative chairman, John Watson, said that while the centre was still well utilised and held in high regard by the community, its declining state was affecting its operations.

“It’s time to start looking at the possibility of redeveloping the centre . . . this is not something that will happen overnight,” he said. “The feasibility study was just the first step in what will be a lengthy process.”

St Albans Community Resource Action Group member Jenny Isa said there was an “absolute need” for a major upgrade, following “years of Band-Aid fixes”.

“I used to go there and I left to go to another facility,” she said. “We’ve been advocating for it for about four years and we almost gave up. Right now, residents have no drive to go there.”

Ms Isa said the outdoor pools were also in need of upgrades.

“They’re horrendous and dangerous. I wouldn’t want my kids to go there,” she said.

“There are about eight schools in that area, and this will boost their collective spirit and get them more active.”

Brimbank council commissioned SGL Consultants to identify all feasible improvement options, propose design options based on the level of budget available, and develop financial modelling around the preferred option.

Ms Isa said she hoped the future upgrades went beyond the gym or pools.

“There’s not a great need for a waterslide, but facilities like basketball courts, a kiosk, creche and sporting hub are definitely called for,” she said.

“The possibilities are endless, and it could really connect our community.”

Brimbank council can include the redevelopment in its future capital works programs and ask the state and federal governments for further funding.

The Leisure Centre redevelopment is the second big-ticket item for Brimbank, with a $52 million Community and Civic Centre under construction in Hampshire Road.

The seven-storey centre is expected to open in June 2016.