A HUGE $2 million-plus aquatic centre at Rainbow Beach will be the town’s first significant piece of community infrastructure not funded from chook raffles, according to pioneering Beach business operator Ruth Modin.
“There wasn’t a chicken that big in town,” a delighted Ms Modin remarked yesterday.
The aquatic centre proposal, with a 10-lane Olympic training pool, spa, gymnasium and secondary pools and facilities, was so big the Federal Government had to come to the party.
And what a party it was at the Rainbow Beach Sport and Recreation Club for yesterday’s lunchtime announcement.
About 80 enthusiastic club supporters welcomed the announcement by Queensland Labor Senator Joe Ludwig and Gympie Region Mayor Ron Dyne.
Sen Ludwig was speaking on behalf of Infrastructure and Local Government Minister Anthony Albanese.
“It’s a significant victory for an important community project,” Sen Ludwig told The Gympie Times after his speech.
“It’s not just a swimming pool. It’s a state-of-the-art aquatic centre.
“This is something the community has worked very hard for and it has a lot of community support.
“Why wouldn’t we support a project like this, which obviously has so much community involvement and backing?”
It follows on from announced federal funding for the long-awaited Centreblock town centre project and renewed state government support for the massively successful Rainbow Beach Fishing Classic.
The aquatic centre project will support 20 jobs during construction and provide six permanent jobs, delivering an important economic boost for the town, Sen Joe Ludwig said at the Rainbow Beach Sport and Recreation Club yesterday.
Club officials thanked Canberra and the Gympie Regional Council, which will build and fit out the centre, install energy and water saving measures and provide art and landscaping to reflect local indigenous heritage.
The club and community raised $500,000, plus in-kind assistance.
Officials heaped praise on the club’s office manager, whose second full-time job for three years has been preparing the successful submission.
She in turn passed some of the glory on to council economic development officer Lynne Wilbraham, who helped the submission preparation process.
The project had never been guaranteed success and Sen Ludwig’s staff yesterday said it was one of only 48 successful projects, out of 393 applications from around Australia.
The senator said the facility would give a real lift to the whole region, providing “a much-needed year-round aquatic, sporting and recreational facility, as well as housing learn-to-swim and life saving activities”.