THE first of many holes has been dug at the Browning Street site of the $30 million Kangaroo Flat aquatic centre, signaling the beginning of an estimated 16 months of construction.
Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards had the honour of turning the first sod at the leveled site during a visit from Victorian sports minister John Eren on Tuesday.
Once complete by the end of 2017, the Kangaroo Flat Leisure and Wellbeing Centre will boast an Olympic-sized swimming pool, spa, gym, sauna, wellness centre and multipurpose rooms.
Mr Eren said the project, combined with the $5 million Bendigo Stadium upgrade and $4 million Bendigo Tennis Centre, would transform sport and recreation in Bendigo.
“This is a game changer for sport and recreation in Kangaroo Flat,” he said.
“It’s going to be a state-of-the-art venue offering something for everyone in Bendigo.”
The official sod-turning came one week after the Kangaroo Flat Community Enterprise redoubled its efforts in its attempt to raise the remaining $600,000 from the community.
The group had been tasked with contributing $1 million, but has so far managed to raise $100,000 from its own fundraising, along with a $300,000 donation from Hazeldene’s.
Bendigo Bank will provide donation spaces at its branches, and other business donors could come on board in the coming months.
The state government contributed $15 million to the project, while the City of Greater Bendigo chipped in $10.1 million and the federal government gave $4.9 million.
The project has already overcome a number of hurdles, including the council’s recommendation to build a 25 metre pool rather than the full-length 50 metre option to save millions in construction costs.
Councillors voted against the option, and the pool will instead contain a moveable boom to create two 25 metre pools.
The Kangaroo Flat Leisure Centre was also demolished to make way for the aquatic centre.