Collaborators : WA Department of Communities; WA Department of Aboriginal Affairs; Donovan Payne Architects; H&M Tracey Construction; Kimberley Green Constructions; Natare Pool
Project Value : $7 Million (Balgo);
Completed : October 2018 (Balgo); November 2020 (Kalamburu)
Designed with Donovan Payne Architects; these two Centres were introduced to the remote townships of Balgo and Kalamburu in far northern Western Australia by the Department of Communities as a method of increasing public health outcomes. Successful completion of the Balgo project spurred development of the second Centre in the even more remote township of Kalamburu.
The $7 million Balgo Aquatic Centre was opened to the public in October 2019. Sited in the remote town in the far north of Western Australia on the edge of the Great Sandy Desert, at the time of completion, Balgo Aquatic Centre was confirmed by the ABC as Australia’s most isolated swimming pool. As Kalumburu is the most remote permanent settlement in Western Australia (located on the King Edward River, 550 kilometres from Kununurra in the south east and 650 kilometres from Derby in the south west) this title is now held by the newer facility!
The aquatic centres help locals cool off from temperatures that can reach the late 40’s regularly during the hot months.
Both sites featured 6 lane 25m metre swimming pools; learn to swim and tots pools; family leisure pools and “beach entry areas”; shade sail covered grass areas and supporting pool plant, pool store, and chemical storage rooms. A separate building at Balgo housed kiosk, male and female change rooms, and first aid areas; while these facilities were incorporated in the main building at Kalamburu; with additional staff rooms, store, toilet and family change rooms. Additional works at Kalamburu included Civil Engineering works for balance tanks, stormwater drainage and clay settlement treatment measures (using Airey Taylor Consulting’s patented Claylock® method); while both sites provided additional on-site parking.
Balgo Aquatic Centre was the subject of a National ABC News TV report. Access to the swimming pool is a great incentive for local kids to attend school. Principal of the local school Barry Ennis states : “…there’s a number of big things really… obviously the hygiene and health of the kids. This is great chance for them to get in and have a really good soak, such a dusty dry environment out here that so that’s magnificent. Obviously its something that is a real lot of fun to day in the daytime. For the next six months or so its going to be very hot out here… most days are up around 40 degrees or so and we don’t see the kids much during the day. Being able to come to a cool place, see their friends and have fun together is just magnificent. And, of course, from our point of view at the school the big one really is ‘no school, no pool’ and that has a big impact on our school.”
The Aquatic Centre continues John Taylor’s industry leading record of Engineering design of Aquatic facilities throughout Australia, including the 2019 Master Builders Association (WA) / Bankwest Excellence in Construction Award for Best Public Use building ($20 – $50 million), Armadale Aquatic Centre. Airey Taylor Consulting hope the communities in Balgo and Kalamburu enjoy their new facilities as much as possible.