Council is planning to develop a new aquatic and wellbeing centre to replace the existing Dandenong Oasis which is nearing the end of its effective life. This major infrastructure project is a key recommendation from the Greater Dandenong Aquatic Strategy and will have a targeted focus on allied health, passive activity, education, fitness and wellness.
Council resolved in September 2019 to develop a new aquatic and wellbeing centre at Mills Reserve to replace the existing Dandenong Oasis, which is over 40 years old and no longer meeting the needs of the community.
This major infrastructure project is a key recommendation from Council’s Aquatic Strategy, which is based on the vision to get “more people, more active, more often”.
The Aquatic Strategy identifies the new aquatic centre as an indoor multi-purpose facility that will complement the nearby Noble Park Aquatic Centre (NPAC) and have a targeted focus on allied health, passive activity, education, fitness and wellness.
The centre will incorporate traditional aquatic and leisure facility components, but with an enhanced focus on health and wellbeing, in response to identified community need. Key facility components are proposed to include two warm water pools, a 50m pool (with moveable boom), learn to swim pool, leisure pool / water play, spa, sauna and steam room, gymnasium, program / group fitness rooms, meeting rooms, allied health suites, café, creche and amenities.
Council appointed a design team led by CO-OP Studio in April 2021 to design the new centre. The design process will build on previous planning and consultation and will seek further community input, in an effort to make the Centre as welcoming as possible to people of all ages and abilities, including those people who have not used a centre like this before.
Mills Reserve Site
JC Mills Reserve, located on the corner Cleeland Street and Heatherton Road, is the home of the existing Dandenong Oasis and was endorsed as the site for the new aquatic centre in 2019, as part of the Aquatic Strategy.
The new centre is proposed to be located within the reserve on Cleeland Street, south of the existing Dandenong Oasis and car park, on land currently used as an informal sports field (refer to plan below).
The proposed site will provide a high-profile location for the new centre with good connections to central Dandenong and will enable the continued operation and use of Dandenong Oasis during construction (subject to any unforeseen disruptions such as COVID restrictions).
The proposed location will preserve the existing synthetic hockey / sports field but will require the development of a new pavilion to replace the existing Mills Pavilion, which is at the end of life and no longer meeting the needs of users. The new pavilion will be designed in consultation with user groups and will include modern clubroom facilities to cater for the existing synthetic pitch, in addition to a second synthetic pitch that is proposed for the site.
A precinct master plan for Mills Reserve is currently being developed and will be available for public comment later in the year.
Timelines and Next Steps
Council will consider all community feedback in developing the design for the new aquatic and wellbeing centre.
The draft design is proposed to be released later this year (2021) for further community feedback.
Construction is proposed to commence in early 2023 and be completed by early 2025 subject to funding.