Due to the ongoing lockdowns in Victoria, Darebin Council has made the decision to not reopen the Northcote Aquatic and Recreation Centre.

At the Ordinary Council Meeting held on Monday 23 August 2021, after a competitive tender process, Darebin Council awarded the construction contract for redevelopment of the Northcote Aquatic and Recreation Centre to Kane Constructions Pty Ltd.

The new centre will be a 6 Star Green Star rated facility, which is the highest rating possible in the Green Building Council of Australia’s sustainability rating system, demonstrating Council’s commitment to and leadership in responding to the climate emergency.

The design has been shaped by community consultation and completed by Warren and Mahoney Australia.

Darebin Council has also consulted significantly with the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation throughout the development of the design of the facility and the landscaping. Consultation remains ongoing throughout the project to achieve integrated outcomes.

Once completed, the new centre will offer indoor and outdoor pools, as well as increased opportunities to participate in health and wellbeing activities, through larger and additional programming spaces and an added warm water pool for exercise and rehabilitation.

Together with improved health and wellbeing outcomes for our community, the construction project for new centre will also bring economic benefits. During the construction period, it is expected the project will generate over 230 jobs (construction, manufacturing and professional services), and over 120 jobs once the new facility is operational.

To find out more and follow the Northcote Aquatic and Recreation Project, which is supported by the Victorian Government, please visit the Your Say Darebin page and sign up for email updates.

To help NARC members continue their health and wellbeing activities, Council has been working behind the scenes with the current operator, the YMCA, as well as some of our neighbouring Councils, to provide alternative fitness and swimming options for you to consider.

  • Alternative options for members

    Health and wellness:

    Learn to swim:

  • Frequently asked questions

    Why is the centre not reopening?

    Due to the impact of ongoing Covid lockdowns in Victoria, Council has made the decision to not reopen NARC. 

    Please see below for how we can help you to find alternative facilities to use while NARC is closed.

    What is the project?

    Built in 1968, NARC plays a key role in the health and wellbeing needs of the Darebin community. Although the centre has been upgraded over the years, NARC has reached the end of its serviceable life and requires redevelopment.

    What will be happening?

    The entire facility will be demolished to make way for the new building and new placement of the outdoor 50m pool.

    Will the redevelopment be completed in stages, so that it can continue to operate?

    It is not possible for the redevelopment to be completed in stages. The proposed new development is extensive and access to the entire site will be needed for the construction of the new facility to take place. Completing the new building and pool in one stage is also the fastest way that we deliver the new upgraded facility for community use.

    Where can I access health, wellbeing and gym programs during the redevelopment period?

    As the centre requires full closure for the redevelopment to occur, onsite programs will not be offered. Instead, we encourage you to keep active, healthy and connected with alternative options outlined above.

    Community members are encouraged to visit those that may best meet individual needs.

    Where can we go for swimming lessons while NARC is closed?

    There are a range of options available for swimming lessons:

    Council’s Reservoir Leisure Centre (RLC) offers a comprehensive swim program.

    YMCA managed facilities at Brunswick Baths and Coburg Leisure Centre offer the same swim program as NARC. Contact either facility directly to secure a class and sign up offer.

    Our neighbour, Banyule Council, are able to offer swimming lessons at their Ivanhoe Aquatic facility.

    A list of all nearby swimming lesson providers is available above.

    What happens to my membership while NARC is closed?

    All membership direct debits will cease. As the managing operator of NARC, memberships are held with the YMCA at Northcote only. Due to the lockdowns, some members may be eligible to receive refunds for credits that remain unused. Members will be provided with an array of options to continue their health and wellness journeys.

    With the centre not reopening, what will happen to the staff?

    YMCA management are working closely with their staff to enable redeployment opportunities to other YMCA facilities wherever possible. Additionally, YMCA management will be made aware of any recruitment opportunities for staff at Reservoir Leisure Centre.

    What will the new facility look like?

    The newly redeveloped NARC will have increased programming areas, as well as additional indoor pools and amenities. A full description of what the facility will include can be found on the Your Say website.

    How long will it take to build the new NARC? When will it open?

    Council officers anticipate the construction period for the new facility will take up to two years, and the new NARC will be ready to open to the community in mid to late 2023.

    Have the traditional landowners been consulted on the project?

    Council has consulted with the traditional landowners, the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung, and sought feedback on the design of the facility, including landscaping. Consultation with the traditional landowners is ongoing throughout the project.

    What will happen with all the equipment and furniture?

    In line with Darebin Council’s environmental policy and asset removal policy, all equipment that can be re-purposed will be removed and re-used in other Council facilities. A minimum of 90% of demolition material will be re-used, recycled or re-purposed, minimising landfill.

    What will happen with the water in the swimming pools?

    Due to the water quality containing required chemicals for pool safety, the water cannot be recycled for irrigation purposes.

    Will the tennis courts still be accessible?

    Council is currently making arrangements with the current service provider to enable tennis programming to continue whilst the facility is closed. This may take some time to organise to ensure the tennis courts are safely operable and amenities are provided. Council is also investigating booking options for casual use.