Pool Masterplan background

The 50m pool in the North Sydney Olympic Pool complex has reached the end of its life and requires significant upgrading. Council is taking this opportunity to redevelop the complex so that it can continue to meet the needs of current and future generations.

Since 2014, we’ve been preparing a Masterplan that will guide future development at the North Sydney Olympic Pool. In late 2014 we undertook consultation to capture general feedback about the pool and needs for the future. The information from the Phase 1 consultation was used to develop six design options for the pool.


Underpinning principles

From the beginning the project has been underpinned by a number of key principles that the Masterplan should address. Development should:

  • recognise the heritage of the pool complex
  • ensure the pool complex is sustainable for future generations
  • meet modern user requirements for people of all abilities and ages
  • ensure any future designs embrace management best practice and sustainability principles
  • improve the user and visitor experience
  • maintain the pool complex as an iconic Sydney attraction.


Brief history of the Pool

1936 - pool opened and hailed as a ‘wonder pool’ for its state-of-the-art filtration system

1938 - hosted the Empire Games swimming and diving events

1964 - pool shortened to the new metric length of 50 metres

1970 - pool retiled

1950-70 - 86 world records set by swimming greats such as Murray Rose, Dawn Fraser and Shane Gould

1972 - pool is heated in winter

1980 - diving springboards removed

2001 - complex redeveloped and facilities including a 25m indoor pool and gymnasium added

2014 - 50m pool reaches the end of its life and requires significant upgrading.


Frequently Asked Questions

What's the most popular option?

It’s too early to say. We’re gathering community feedback on the six design options until 25 September. After the community consultation period, we will analyse the feedback and a report will be presented to Council later this year.

Does Council have a preference?

Council itself has no preference and is assessing all the options equally.

What if I don’t like any of the options?

The design options presented are concepts. We’re keen to hear which features you like in any of the six options. There is no need to pick just one. All feedback will give us a firmer understanding on the stand out features the community would like. For example if car parking or family activities are important to you but you prefer an option that does not have these features, please let us know.

How will the redevelopment be funded?

Council has been planning for the upgrade of North Sydney Olympic Pool for some time now. The redevelopment will be funded through a combination of Council funding, government grants and income revenue streams built into the design options (eg. an events space, lease revenue from commercial activities, gate takings etc).

When will work on the pool start?

We are hoping to start work in the next 18 months. This timing will be dependent on which option is selected and the approval of a DA.

How long would the pool be closed for?

We estimate it would be closed for between 18-24 months, dependent on a number of factors, including which design option is selected. Council would like to keep the 25m indoor pool open if possible, however this would depend on which option is selected.

Why are the pools in options 5 and 6 66m long?

The 66m pool would provide the flexibility to hold multiple activities in the pool at the one time. For example the two booms could separate the pool into three separate areas; with diving in one area, water polo in the second area and recreational swimming in the third area.

Why is the pool in option 4 51.5m long?

This has been designed so that there is the flexibility for the 50m pool to be separated into two 25m pools if required. The additional 1.5 metre length accommodates the boom, which is what divides the pool in half. The boom is 1.5m wide.

Will the pool be salt or fresh water?

Council is considering both fresh and salt water options. Advice from FINA is that the pool could be either salt or fresh water for both international and national aquatic competitions.

Is the depth of the pool being extended with the diving board?

If diving is included in the final pool masterplan, the depth of the pool will be appropriate to accommodate a diving facility.

What are the booms for in option 4, 5 and 6?

The boom allows the pool to be separated into different swimming zones if required.

International diving pools are usually indoor?

We have confirmed that they can be either indoor or outdoor. There are many instances, including Olympic diving competitions, where the diving tower and pool is outdoors.

What’s the difference between international standard and non-international diving boards?

The difference is the number of diving boards required.

Will the harbourside park in option 6 be accessible to the public?

Yes. The park will be a public foreshore park and accessible to the public at all times.

What about the heritage of the pool?

Council has engaged renowned Sydney heritage consultants, (Godden Mackay Logan) on this project and we are working with Professor Richard Mackay to ensure key heritage concerns are addressed in all options being considered.

Won’t the proposed gym in options  3, 4, 5, and 6 be dark if it is under the pool?

In all of the options where the pool is located under the outdoor pool, there are skylights that would allow natural light in. Feedback from the community thus far is that they would like windows looking out to the harbour. This is currently being considered by the architects as a future refinement to the options.

Is this how the waterslide will look in Option 3 and 4?

The outdoor waterslide presented in options 3 and 4 is a concept only. How it would look (if that option goes ahead) is still to be determined. What we are keen to hear is if the community would like a waterslide as part of the new pool complex.

What happens to Ripples and Aqua dining?

In all of the options being considered Council will be retain a fine dining restaurant and associated café facilities.

What does ETFE mean?

ETFE is a type of plastic that is used in many outdoor applications eg. football stadiums etc. The designs propose using EFTE panels for shade structures  over family leisure pools in options 1-5 and to use ETFE to enclose the outdoor waterslide in options 3 and 4.

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