Wollongong City Council says it will need to spend at least $55 million to turn Beaton Park into a regionally significant sports precinct over the next 20 years.
The redeveloped facility will have a new multipurpose 3000-seat stadium with six basketball courts, and a leisure centre triple the size of the current gym, according to the council's newly released draft master plan.
The plans for the first stage include an expansion of aquatic facilities, including a new multi-purpose hydrotherapy pool, a water play area for children and a new spa and sauna.
However, the council has not heeded calls from dozens of residents and swim club members to build a full-size Olympic swimming pool, arguing this is “not considered to be a priority”.
"With an abundance of water facilities within the Local Government Area, including swimming pools, rock pools and beaches, another 50 metre pool is not considered to be a priority at this site and is therefore not identified as part of the draft master plan for this site," the council said.
Staff said Corrimal pool was to be “the premier competitive pool” for the Wollongong, with a master plan for that now in development.
Also not included in the master plan are synthetic football fields.
With dozens of residents protesting the University of Wollongong’s proposed synthetic pitch upgrade at Kooloobong Ovals, many people suggested Beaton Park would be a better location.
However, the council says this would clash with athletics activities at the Kerryn McCann track and the existing grass fields. Officers also said installing the synthetic turf in flood-prone ground would take a significant amount of excavation, which could unearth contamination on the site.
The first stage of upgrades at Beaton Park will cost at least $14 million, according to a report to next Monday’s council meeting.
As well as the aquatic upgrades, the council plans “greening” works in this stage, to establish a community space between the grass field and athletics track, as well as pathways and new fitness equipment.
To afford the upgrades, the council has explored the idea of applying for grants, working with local sports groups or undertaking joint ventures, but these will not be enacted until the plan is endorsed.
In financial assumptions published with the master plan, the council has calculated that it will be able to double its income from pool fees, and get a 50 per cent membership and cafe rental increase.
However, it's electricity costs will increase 150 per cent, and it's water costs will go up 300 per cent, the staff report says.
Currently, the council loses about $500,000 a year running Beaton Park after incomce and expenditure is tallied.
After the master plan upgrades are implemented, the facility will cost the council $2.7 million a year to run, according to council business papers.