Aratat Rural City Recreation and Aquatic Centre Activity Study


Client: Ararat Rural City Council

Services: Community, Facilities, Planning, Sport


Location: 61 - 73 High STreet, Ararat Victoria 3377, Australia

Completion: October 31, 2013


The Ararat Rural City Council commissioned SGL Group to conduct a study of the current usage of the Ararat Rural City Recreation and Aquatic Centre as well as to identify any barriers to participation across the different programs and services within the Centre and to look at the potential opportunities to redevelop the Centre in order to increase participation and improve the services provided.


Ararat Rural City Recreation and Aquatic Centre is a multipurpose facility with a range of activities on offer. However due to a mix of heritage and modern activity spaces and a tight and narrow site there are significant limitations of the redevelopment of the site as well as operational issues and challenges in delivering programs and services to meet the needs of the current community.

The aims of the Project were as follows:

  • Provide and analyse data for programs and activity participation levels conducted at the Centre
  • Identify the gaps in current participation (or where they fall short) in programs and activities being conducted at the Centre
  • Identify the barriers to participation across the programs and activities being conducted at the Centre
  • Identify strategies to address the barriers and gaps and to explore the opportunities to increase participation
  • Considering the study findings identify key issues on the functionality and layout of the Centre and identify design considerations to improve innovative and creative facility redevelopment options to increase participation and improve services at the Centre

To gather an understanding of the usage of the facility, a facility usage and occupancy study was undertaken. It was identified that there were a number of areas of the facility that have the potential to increase both the number of user groups as well the number of hours that existing users utilise the facility. It was also identified that there had been a slight decrease in the number of users visiting the Centre between 2009/2010 and 2011/2012. A range of different consultation and research methods were used including surveys and key stakeholder interviews

After a thorough research and consultation process, a number of key findings were presented that impact on the future redevelopment opportunities and priorities. These project findings lead to the development of a range of facility improvement or expansion options. These were presented under three key headings:

  • Maintenance
  • Improved existing facilities
  • New activity components/areas

At the conclusion of the process a series of recommendations were developed and presented to the Council.


The methodology for the project was as follows:

Stage One: Background and Existing Situations

  1. Task One: Project Classification and Engagement Strategy
  2. Task Two: Current Facility Usage and Operational Review
  3. Task Three: Previous Research and Demographic Review
  4. Task Four: Review and Analyse Existing Site and mix of Facility Components
  5. Task Five: Aquatic and Recreation Centre Industry Trends

Stage Two: Consultation and Stakeholder Interviews

  1. Task One: Stakeholder Interviews
  2. Task Two: Aquatic and Recreation Centre Surveys

Stage Three: Strategic Options Review

  1. Task One: Future Development Principles
  2. Task Two: Facility Component Brief
  3. Task Three: Redevelopment Options Schematic Plan and Costs and Staging
  4. Task Four: Indicative Future Development Business Modelling
  5. Task Five: Review of Schematic Plans and Business Impacts

Stage Four: Final Report

  1. Task One: Draft Report and Review Forum
  2. Task Two: Draft Report Consultation
  3. Task Three: Final Report