Recreation, Residents, Supporting Our Community|

πŸ’¦ Have you been to Parramatta Aquatic Centre (PAC) yet? It’s been a month since it opened and tens of thousands of people have swum, splashed and worked out at PAC already! πŸ‘ I’ve been going a few times a week – doing laps and relaxing in the spa as well as taking my boys to swimming lessons and look forward to joining in a fitness class soon.

πŸ™ I wanted to thank so many of you for sharing your experiences of visiting PAC – the good, the bad and, in some cases, the ugly… I’ve received hundreds of pieces of feedback over the last few weeks, which I’ve been collating and raising with Council’s management team – and I know Council has received a lot of feedback directly as well!

With anything new, there’s inevitably a few teething problems and the PAC team have been working really hard to address concerns and make improvements where possible – while also welcoming over 50,000 in the first month! πŸ™

So I wanted to take a moment to provide a snapshot of how we’re responding to your feedback…

  • βœ… Improvements that have already been made include free parking extended to 4hrs for people with a MPS permit, new bus stop for people coming from Westmead, putting 7a Park Parade Parramatta into Google Maps now actually takes you to PAC, adding more group fitness classes, greater information on the PAC website (including online registration, parking options and easier to find entry prices), adjustments to water temp in the showers, signage warning which way the automatic doors open, improving lane management (particularly on hot days) and greater notification via social media about any changes to operations (such as the splash area closing for maintenance yesterday) – so best to check before visiting.
  • βœ… Improvements that are in the process of being implemented include shade over the seating in the rain garden, installation of recycling bins, cafe switching to cardboard containers, improved signage for female/ male lockers and ongoing tweaks to the casual entry experience as well as crowd management in the splash pool and attendance management at group fitness classes.

Now I know a few of you aren’t completely happy with the location, design, layout, or lack of dive towers – I’m sure each of us, given the chance, would have designed PAC slightly differently. Plus, I can see there’s still a level of anger after having to wait 6 summers for the old Parramatta Pool to be replaced – which is understandable given the former NSW Government demolished our pool before even confirming where the replacement would be built and didn’t fully fund it! 😠

But given the constraints of the site (the land is leased from Parramatta Park and has a number of restrictions, including heritage sight lines), the budget (Council invested $50.1m on top of the $38.5m from the State Government) and objective of delivering a quality, financially responsible wellness facility that can be used year-round by our community – I think it’s a pretty great result.

So, taking all this into account, and that PAC is now built, there are unfortunately a few things that can’t be changed – where we can put in place workarounds in some cases, but we will have to learn to live with the others. For example:

🚸 the splash area has a capacity of 50 people, due to NSW Health requirements on pool bathing capacities. Our FREE water playgrounds are a great alternative for families on a hot day if this is your main reason for visiting PAC.

πŸ…ΏοΈ parking capacity on-site can’t be expanded, so there’s the Hunter Street Carpark (a short walk away) and pricing is set for the on-site parking to encourage turnover. For people wanting to stay more then 2hrs, you have the option of paying for parking on-site (which for families makes it the same price as going to Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre – when visiting both for 4hrs), parking in the Hunter Street Carpark (which is FREE for 4hrs on Sundays) or catching public transport.

πŸ’¦ I appreciate that PAC isn’t going to appeal to everyone, but clearly a lot of people are happy to have an aquatic centre back in Parramatta (πŸ™‹β€β™€οΈ myself included)! And if PAC isn’t for you, there are a number of other public pools in the area to choose from, including Wenty Pools, Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre, Epping Pool, Granville Pool and Aquatopia. πŸ‘

I could go on, as there’s so much to share about PACs first month, but best you ask me any questions you have or share feedback and I’ll provide answers where I can or seek a response from the PAC team.

😍 I did want to finish by saying a MASSIVE THANK YOU to the PAC team, who have been smashed these last few weeks and worked so incredibly hard and care so much about making PAC a much-loved facility for our community – in particular Drew, Sue, Avril, David and Jon ❣️

Note: these views are my own

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