Decision Day Fast Approaching On New World Leading Aquatics Centre In Time For Brisbane 2032 Olympics


by IAN HANSON – OCEANIA CORRESPONDENT

10 March 2024, 07:15pm

Decision Approaching For New World Leading Aquatics Centre In Time For Brisbane 2032 Olympics

The debate around whether or not the Brisbane 2032 Olympics should be swum in a new world class Aquatic Centre or in a temporary facility at the planned Brisbane Arena is finally starting to hot up – and it’s one gold medal swimming bosses are desperate to win.

Enter into the race, dual Olympic champion and one of Queensland’s favourite swimming sons Grant Hackett and a renewed push from National governing body Swimming Australia who first entered the fray some 12 months ago – continuing to making a splash behind closed doors in what would be a far-reaching decision for the sport down under.

This week officially throwing their support behind triple Olympic medallist and Brisbane developer Mark Stockwell’s on-going public push to secure a new Aquatic Centre and a swimming legacy for the country’s number one Olympic sport.

Stockwell, Hackett and Swimming Australia all declaring: “Brisbane deserves a new world-leading Aquatic Centre.”

With Swimming Australia also keen to make Brisbane the new national home of swimming.

“When the opportunity arose to win the Olympics and Paralympics for Brisbane there was a general feeling of ‘let’s win the rights to host the Games and then we will come back and review the plan in all its detail,’ said Stockwell.

MAKING AN IMPRESSION: Australian Swimming bosses hoping for a gold medal decision on a new Aquatic Centre in Brisbane. Courtesy Courier Mail.

“This has not happened, and in talking to most presidents of Olympic and Paralympic sports the direct consultation never took place.

“There has been no indication that the construction of a permanent Aquatic facility has ever genuinely been considered by the government as an alternative venue to Brisbane Live Arena (and a temporary pool).

“This new Aquatic Centre ­facility and an upgraded Brisbane Aquatic Centre facility at Chandler can be used by swimming, diving, water polo, artistic swimming and Snow Australia.”

Stockwell also making the point that the new Aquatic Centre would be an ideal main venue for Brisbane to host the 2031 World Aquatics Championships – 12 months before the Games – an event previously hosted in 1991 and 1998 in Perth and 2007 in Melbourne.

And while Stockwell has been the one to continue to fight the good fight for a new Aquatic Centre, with a page one story and another column today in Queensland’s popular daily masthead The Courier Mail, Hackett has also weighed in, agreeing that the value of what a new facility would mean to the sport is a no brainer.

“Throughout our consultation phase, we heard confusion and disappointment from the swimming community and other stakeholders that Brisbane 2032 would not deliver a venue legacy outcome for swimming,” revealed Hackett.

“There is no doubt that a permanent venue will inspire future generations of swimmers and bring the community closer to the Games and their legacy.”

A 60-day review into the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Venue Master Plan is in its final laps, with former Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk, at the helm of a review team due to hand down its findings next Monday, March 18 – after consulting with a broad range of stakeholders.

With Swimming Australia actually presenting to the Brisbane 2032 Independent Review Panel into Venue Plans last month with Hackett’s support from a committee that also includes Australian Paralympic legend Ellie Cole, Sydney 2000 silver medallist and Swimming NSW CEO Kirsten Thompson and World Aquatics Vice President and Australian Olympian Matt Dunn.

Swimming Australia certainly welcoming the Queensland Government’s Independent Review of Brisbane 2032 Venue Plans and renewed calls for the Games to deliver a new permanent world class Aquatic facility – and to make Brisbane the its long overdue National home.

In a statement on its website, Swimming Australia said it has made it clear it considers plans for temporary pools at the proposed Brisbane Arena are a missed opportunity for the Games to deliver a much-needed, world-class Aquatic facility for Brisbane, Queensland and the nation.

“A new world-class and permanent Aquatic facility constructed in time for Brisbane 2032 Games would deliver a more cost-effective venue solution, an enhanced community legacy outcome and address existing gaps in the aquatic infrastructure network.

“A new permanent Aquatic Centre could deliver lasting legacy benefits for swimming, aquatic sports, the broader community, and the Queensland economy.

“Re-configuring with reduced seating capacity post-Games, following the successful lead of Sydney, Beijing, London, and Tokyo as previous Host Cities.

“It would also be utilised before and after the Games to host local, State, National and International events, and contribute to Queensland’s visitor economy for decades to come, inspiring greater swimming participation and be a leading hub for high performance programs and sport science innovation.

“With accessibility for the community year-round for a range of sport and recreation activities, including carnivals, lap swimming and learn to swim programs.

“Swimming Australia is committed to working collaboratively with the Government and other partners to realise this vision and to determine a location and design that serves the Games and meets the future needs of our sport and other user groups.”

For swimming in Brisbane, Queensland and Australia’s sake, let’s hope some common-sense prevails…..!

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