THE Orange community has received great value for money from the new indoor aquatic centre because of the external funding the project was able to attract, according to mayor John Davis.
From today the indoor 25-metre pool will be open to the public following more than nine months of delays.
The indoor pools were originally due for completion by the 2011 swimming season.
Cr Davis said the opening was absolutely fantastic.
“I think the swimming fraternity and the general public never thought such a project would happen,” Cr Davis said.
“It’s a combination of a lot of hard work and lobbying and more importantly the community members that have been advocating for this project for 20 years plus unsuccessfully.
“The best part in my opinion, and for supportive councillors, is the fact that half the funds came from outside sources like the federal Labor government.”
The federal government contributed $3.6 million towards the project while Swimfit raised $100,000 for the pool.
When questioned about whether the project would come in on budget despite the delays, Cr Davis played down the importance of the final price.
“The budget indications are quite OK as far as I’m concerned,” he said.
“Half the money has come from the federal government and councillors and myself are happy.”
Council spokesman Nick Redmond said the council had an approved budget of $8.2 million for the project.
In January 2011 councillors agreed to allocate an additional $455,900 to the project’s original budget of $7.2 million based on concept designs from 2008.
They also set aside a further $210,000 for unexpected costs during construction.
“When you get to the end of a contract you deal with variations as part of the negotiations,” Mr Redmond said.
He would not say when negotiations would be finalised or when the contractors would officially hand the facility over to the council.
Cr Davis said delays were part of any project.
Infrastructure committee chair Cr Sam Romano said he was grateful council staff had picked up on defects before the pool was opened.
More than 150 children are already signed up for learn to swim lessons at the complex.