TWO of the world’s best known Olympic sports stars were in Mandurah on Sunday for the opening of stage 1 of the Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre redevelopment.
Athlete and four-time Olympian Betty Cuthbert and Olympic and Commonwealth Games gold-medal swimmer Dawn Fraser were on hand when Premier Colin Barnett cut the gold ribbon to the $23 million redevelopment that includes a new 50-metre outdoor pool, a leisure pool, clubroom facility, geothermal heating and the refurbishment of the existing 25m indoor lap pool.
Ms Fraser said she expected the centre to be the venue for future state and national swimming events.
She said she had not seen anything to match it in Australia, apart from the Homebush pool.
The centre is expected to attract about 650,000 visitors each year and was off to a flying start after the official opening when thousands of people poured through the doors to take advantage of free swims and other activities.
Guests included Deputy Premier Kim Hames, a host of other politicians and Ken Donohoe, who was the town clerk of Mandurah Town Council when the centre was originally built in the late 1970s.
The biggest infrastructure development yet seen in Mandurah is being undertaken in two stages, totalling $38 million.
The project received $13.5 million in State Government funding – $11 million through Royalties for Regions and $2.5 million from the Community Sporting and Recreation Facilities Fund.
Stage two will include construction of new indoor sports courts, gymnasium, creche, change rooms and fitness centre.
Development is expected to start in January.