Australia Communities and society, Culture, sport and tourism, Health and social care, Public health

Community sports facilities – a tale from Glen Eira


Pic: Michael McLaughlin

Increasingly, councils are tasked with balancing the health and wellbeing benefits of their community sports assets with a tougher financial outlook. In this article, Glen Eira City Council, Australia, shares how they’ve risen to the challenge while redeveloping an old swimming pool.

This article is featured in our latest edition of Global Local. Click here to read more about how councils can help improve mental wellbeing in their communities.


The Carnegie Memorial Swimming Pool, formally the Caufield Memorial Pool, was built in 1966. It is a much-loved part of Glen Eira and many generations of the community grew up at the pool.

The redevelopment of Carnegie Memorial Swimming Pool has been part of Glen Eira City Council’s forward planning for some time. The plans were brought forward when we discovered a significant leak at the start of the 2020–2021 summer season. Professional investigations revealed it wasn’t possible to repair the leak, so we had to keep the pool closed.

The transformation of the pool into a contemporary community aquatic facility will benefit the Glen Eira community for generations to come.

Proposed redevelopment

The Carnegie Memorial Swimming Pool redevelopment is an important project for our community. It will create new opportunities for local residents, and the wider community, to make new friends, learn new skills and maintain healthy lifestyles. The redevelopment will stimulate job opportunities in the local area, assisting with post-Covid-19 economic recovery.

The redevelopment will broaden the facilities at Carnegie Memorial Swimming Pool. This will help us cater for the year-round demand for aquatic and leisure facilities by providing:

  • more opportunities to improve physical and mental wellbeing, specifically through learn-to-swim and other programs;
  • improved user experience of the facilities;
  • enhanced community feel and connectedness while still enjoying the essential elements which contribute to the current swim centre’s character; and
  • a more sustainable facility with improved accessibility.

Community consultation

We consulted the Glen Eira community in 2015, 2018, again in late 2019 and early 2020. We wanted to understand what is important to you for the redevelopment of Carnegie Memorial Swimming Pool.

We created a Community Reference Group in December 2019 to help guide the design development process for the Carnegie Memorial Swimming Pool redevelopment.

The feedback we collected through this extensive engagement process helped inform the designs.

From October 2019 to January 2020, we asked the community to vote on the proposed designs for the Centre. A total of 1,364 community members took part in this consultation.

We consulted with the community again from 1 July to 12 August 2020. During this time, we asked for feedback on the concept design for the proposed redevelopment of Carnegie Memorial Swimming Pool. The concept design included indoor and outdoor pools, an outdoor dive pool and increased wet and dry wellness facilities.

We received a strong, positive response to the concept design. Most criticisms were minor and we considered and incorporated them into the design concept, where possible. We heard the community wanted to retain the essential elements of Carnegie Memorial Swimming Pool.

We have kept the Centre within its current footprint. The design incorporates a red brick, timber and concrete facade, which is a contemporary tribute to mid-century design. We are keeping the war memorial signage, the ‘grassy hill’ and lots of native landscaping and open space. We plan to apply for a Green Star rating in response to the Council’s recent declaration of climate emergency and net zero emissions by 2025.


The new year-round aquatic and leisure facility will be one of the most environmentally friendly and sustainable centres in the world. It will be designed and constructed to a Six Star Green Star rating with climate resilience, low energy operations and maximum water efficiency, and will include:

  • an outdoor 50-metre, eight-lane pool
  • an indoor warm water program pool and 25-metre learn-to-swim pool
  • an outdoor diving pool
  • a concourse spa
  • learn-to-swim programs, a therapeutic warmwater pool and numerous allied health services
  • indoor sauna, steam room and accessible changerooms
  • allied health treatment rooms
  • program rooms for classes such as yoga and Pilates
  • outdoor children’s splash pad
  • lawn areas and open spaces (including retention of the eastern mound)
  • a café, barbecue, and shaded seating areas
  • retention of design references to the past such as the post-war style signage, the red brick and retaining the eastern hill


Glen Eira City Council awarded ADCO Constructions Pty Ltd the contract ($62m) to deliver the project with a revised total project cost of $75m.

We have been successful in securing $15m of funding through the Australian Government as part of our advocacy efforts and we will continue to advocate to the Victorian Government as the project continues. Construction commenced in early 2023 and is scheduled to conclude in late 2024.


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