Fluid timeline for Newlands upgrade

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The state-of-the-art new Newlands swimming centre is due for completion only in 2014 or 2015 and will go ahead only after a full environmental impact assessment (EIA).

This has been confirmed by the head of Western Province Swimming, Brian Reynolds, in response to the news about the project last night from the city’s acting director of sport, recreation and amenities, Donny Jurgens.

Reynolds told the Cape Argus last night that a collaboration agreement has been signed between Swimming South Africa and the city.

“The next phase is for Swim SA to decide who the developers will be, and thereafter an EIA will be conducted.”

According to a planning document, the “Newlands Aquatic Centre” will include a main pool, diving pool, diving platforms, media centre, training and administration, spectator stands, a pool enclosure and adjustable solar control, filtration and heating.

And the following will be included in the development: a 4-star sports hotel, apartments, low-rise residential, commercial offices and parking.

“… parts of the roof will be transparent and slide away, the building will be characterised by its transparency and sheltering sunscreens.

“It is proposed that parts of the pool will be visible through glazed galleries from the main road. Spectator seating would be both fixed and retractable opening on to lawns and trees along the river walk,” the design wording reads.

The ownership of the facility would remain in the hands of the City of Cape Town, and thereby its citizens.

Reynolds explained: “A public participation process has already been conducted and there was overwhelming support in favour of fixing up the pool, which is in a shocking state.

“Some concern has been expressed by new residents in the area, but [new] residents’ views will be taken into account in the EIA,” he said.

Asked about timing, he said: “There is no definite time frame. We were hoping to have this facility up and running by 2014, but we have slipped back because the initial financiers withdrew because we hadn’t finalised the agreement with the city council, but we now have new financiers.” - Cape Argus

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