New aquatic and leisure centre

  • Project typeMajor project
  • Project valueTo be finalised
  • Project scheduleConstruction 2024-25 | Opening 2026

We’re planning a new, high-quality aquatic and leisure centre to help support the health and wellbeing of our community. It will be contemporary, accessible for all, and meet current standards. This is a significant project and investment for Council.

The new aquatic and leisure centre will be built at 1-7 Wells Road (next to Jack Grut Reserve on Governor Road) in Mordialloc.

This project will be joint-funded by the City of Kingston and the Australian Government, who have committed $20m towards the project.

In October 2022, we commenced work with an independently-selected Community Reference Group (CRG) who have been providing us with their local perspectives to help work through the design process. Scroll down to read more about the CRG.

During works, access to Jack Grut Reserve will be maintained. Council will aim to minimise any disruption during the construction of this major project.

We anticipate that Kingston’s new Aquatic and Leisure Centre will be built and open to the public in early 2026.

View the draft concept plan

Community Reference Group

In 2022, we invited the community to register their interest to be part of a Community Reference Group (CRG) to provide their local perspectives as we plan for the new Aquatic & Leisure Centre. We received over 148 responses.

People who registered their interest were selected based on a set of demographic criteria plus their experiences, perspectives, and backgrounds.

Twenty-five reference group members were selected by an external consultant (Deliberately Engaging) to ensure a representative sample of typical users of an aquatic and leisure facility were selected. View the CRG profile below:

Our panel

  • 12 Female
  • 11 Male
  • 1 Non-binary
  • 1 Prefer not to say

Their ages

  • 18-24 - 2 people
  • 25-34 - 6 people
  • 35-49 - 7 people
  • 50-59 - 4 people
  • 60-69 - 4 people
  • 70+ - 2 people

Their location

  • Aspendale 1 (4%)
  • Aspendale Gardens 4 (16%)
  • Chelsea Heights 1 (4%)
  • Clarinda 1 (4%)
  • Dingley Village 1 (4%)
  • Edithvale 3 (12%)
  • Heatherton 1 (4%)
  • Mentone 3 (12%)
  • Mordialloc 5 (20%)
  • Parkdale 4 (16%)
  • Waterways 1 (4%)

Their experiences

  • 16% have a disability / care for someone with a disability
  • 8% identify as LGBTIQA+
  • 20% speak a language other than English at home
  • 24% are culturally and linguistically diverse
  • 8% don’t use the pool or aquatic centre
  • 48% are lap swimmers
  • 44% use a pool for recreation
  • 12% attend aquatic fitness classes
  • 60% use the pool for relaxation or rehabilitation purposes
  • 12% attend learn to swim classes
  • 40% are a parent or guardian of a learn to swim participant
  • 44% are gym users
  • 28% attend group fitness classes

The CRG will learn about all sorts of factors associated with developing a new aquatic and leisure centre, discuss them with one another, and then offer feedback to help guide Council’s decision-making process.

We look forward to sharing updates and highlights of upcoming CRG meetings with our community. Watch our video showcasing why our members put their hand up for the challenge and what they are hoping to achieve.


November 2023 - Plans for new centre unveiled

Thank you so much for all of your feedback to-date! Your enthusiastic response (more than 6,500 submissions) to our five stages of consultation has helped shape the early design for your new aquatic and leisure centre in Mordi - and we're so excited to share the plans with you.

The development of the new centre is progressing well, with the demolition of the old buildings complete, and the planning application currently in the works. You told us sustainability was important and we're listening - 99.5% of materials are being recycled following demo works!

View the images in our gallery or watch the demo works! Colours and finer details may change as the design is completed.

October 2023 - Upcoming demolition works at the former Don Tatnell Leisure Centre

In October, the old building will be demolished and returned to open space for the community. We’re also working with the Tatnell family to honour the legacy of Don Tatnell, through a memorial at Walter Galt Reserve.

There will be no impact to the adjoining Mordialloc Community Centre (MCC). A decked area, ramp and entry steps will be added to the MCC building to connect it to the new open space that will also include a grassed area and new trees.

May 2023 - New centre to improve community’s health and wellbeing

Plans for Kingston’s new aquatic and leisure centre are streaking ahead, with the business case now finalised and concept plans underway after Council committed to a fully electric, accessible, and sustainable centre.

The business case, prepared by external consultants, builds on fantastic community feedback and the very valuable work being undertaken by the community reference group.

Residents have told us that variety, accessibility and sustainability are important in the design of the new centre and these key themes will all feature. The new centre will be fully electric to reduce emissions and accessible and welcoming to people of all abilities. The central elements of this indoor community aquatic centre include:

  • Four pools: multi-purpose lap swimming pool (50m), learn to swim pool, warm water exercise pool, and leisure pool
  • Gym and fitness facilities
  • Sauna and steam room
  • Café
  • Foyer, car parking, change rooms

Construction to deliver this important investment in the health and wellbeing of Kingston is expected to cost $79.2 million. Council has secured a $20 million election commitment from the Australian Government, and will be seeking further funding from the Victorian Government to support the long-term health, wellbeing, and aquatic education of our community.

Upcoming community consultation

This is the biggest project ever delivered by Council and we are working closely with our community to create a centre for everyone to enjoy.
Throughout May, quick-polls will be conducted to get real-time feedback to help shape the draft concept design. 

We will share the draft concept plans with you later in the year and would love to hear your thoughts. Don't forget, you can also provide your feedback on the project any time by emailing

April 2023 – CRG meet the architect

Fun, inclusive, safe and sustainable. That’s the key to the vision developed by our Community Reference Group for Kingston’s new Aquatic and Leisure Centre.

Architect Co.Op Studio has now been asked to bring that vision to life in designs for the exciting new facility in Mordialloc.

CRG representatives recently presented their Vision, Purpose and Design Pillars(PDF, 4MB) for the centre to Council and CO.OP Studio. We're excited to share their hard-work with you! Check out our behind-the-scenes video from their latest meeting where they met the architect!

The CRG's input will form a key part of the architect’s brief, along with broader community consultation results, research, industry and demographic trends, site requirements and best-practice.

While the CRG is acting as a key voice in the design of the centre, there's still plenty of opportunity for the wider community to get involved in its development.

Throughout May, mini-polls will be sent out to get real-time feedback to help shape the draft concept design. The draft concept design will be released for community feedback mid-year.

This is the biggest project ever delivered by Kingston Council and we are working closely with our community to create a centre for everyone to enjoy.

What’s next?

As design for the new centre progresses, we are benchmarking similar projects on design and project costs, monitoring supply chains and market conditions to plan for the construction and operation of the new centre.

We will engage local suppliers wherever possible to support Kingston businesses, and we are proud to partner with the Australian Government, which has committed $20m to help deliver the fantastic new facility.

February 2023 – Design to start soon

We're one step closer to delivering a fantastic new aquatic and leisure centre for our community to enjoy. 
Designs for the new centre are underway after Council appointed lead architect and consultant design team Co.Op Studio.
The creative team will help develop a fun, sustainable, inclusive place that integrates with the beautiful neighbouring Mordialloc Creek area. 
We're working with a 25-member Community Reference Group (CRG), who are a key voice in helping develop the draft concept designs. The CRG has already met several times and are key to making sure the new centre meets the needs of our diverse community. Find out what they’ve been up to by watching this video.

May 2022 – New Centre to be built in Mordialloc

We are thrilled to announce that our new aquatic and leisure centre will be built adjacent to Jack Grut Reserve on Governor Road in Mordialloc.

This milestone announcement comes after an extensive site investigation program that commenced with over 180 potential locations across the central and southern areas of Kingston.

On the back of a thorough independent assessment of the shortlisted sites and valuable feedback from our community, we are now moving forward with finalising the land purchase and designing a great new facility for the community.

This once-in-a-generation project represents a major investment in the future health and wellbeing of the community and we are focused on developing a facility that is more sustainable, accessible and environmentally sensitive than ever before.

December 2021 - February 2022

Following the release of the findings, Council conducted three community information sessions to share the details of the site assessment process, and to answer your questions. View our January information session.

All questions submitted during the engagement period, and asked within the information sessions, can be found in our frequently asked questions(PDF, 187KB).

We thank all those who have shared their thoughts. All feedback received will now be collated, and presented to Council in the coming weeks, to help guide decision making on this major project.

December 2021

Council has released the independent findings of the detailed site investigations of our three shortlisted locations.

Detailed, independent site assessments were undertaken on three sites, with the consultant’s report identifying one viable site.

The three sites were:

1. Governor Rd/Wells Rd, Mordialloc (private site) – most viable site

  • Site conditions are appropriate for an aquatic facility
  • Close to transport and walking/bike trails
  • No loss of open space
  • Good catchment population.

2. Walter Galt Reserve (former Don Tatnell Leisure Centre)

  • As the Reserve is a former landfill site, the landfill/contamination heavily restricts construction to the existing buildings footprint (the former Don Tatnell Leisure Centre and the Mordialloc Community Centre)
  • In order to accommodate a district-level facility at this site, it would require the demolition and relocation of Mordialloc Community Centre
  • As a former landfill site, it is likely that significant further issues would be uncovered during construction.

3. Edithvale Common, adjoining the existing bowls club and sports oval

  • Land poses a high flood risk, with limited mitigation opportunities
  • Negatively impact the surrounding environment and RAMSAR wetlands
  • Unlikely to receive the required support from Melbourne Water.

Read more about the pros and cons of each site(PDF, 711KB). All relevant questions submitted during the engagement period have been included within the frequently asked questions document (available above in the December 2021 - February 2022 update).

If the top-ranked option is progressed, the privately owned site would need to be purchased by Council in order to proceed. To ensure the site is not sold to another buyer while we are still considering the options, Council has signed a Heads of Agreement with the property owner, which means Council is first in line to purchase the property, for an agreed value, if we decide to proceed.

September 2021

Since the adoption of our new Aquatic Facility Plan(PDF, 1MB) to guide the way forward in building Kingston's new District Aquatic Centre, we have been busy behind the scenes planning for the next steps.

Site selection work underway

We know that the location of the new centre is vitally important to our community.

To make sure we find the best available site, Council cast the net wide and looked at well over 100 sites right across the central and southern suburbs of Kingston.

We need a site that is large enough to host a district-level facility, has good transport access and with limited impact on surrounding homes. Sites considered included a range of Council/government owned sites, existing open space/parkland, privately owned sites and industrial land.

We have been refining the list of potential sites by ruling out locations that were too small, that took up a large amount of parkland/existing sporting facilities, were located too close to residential homes, or were subject to significant environmental constraints.

Following this shortlisting process, we are now finalising detailed site assessments on three sites: the site of the closed Don Tatnell Leisure Centre and two other sites.

To ensure we find a site that supports access for all and meets the current and future needs of our expanded new facility, we are conducting:

  • Environmental impact reviews
  • Soil and groundwater testing
  • Constructability assessments, and
  • Catchment and accessibility modelling.

This work will help us understand the opportunities and risks associated with locations and identify the best site for this important community facility.

We know the community is very keen to hear the outcome of the site selection assessments and we hope to be able to share further details within the next few months.

Project team

Aquatic and leisure facilities are highly complex and are rapidly evolving in the areas of technology and building practices. We are currently putting together a team of internal and external experts that will guide Council through this important community development.

July 2021

Council has engaged specialist contractors to perform a soil and groundwater assessment in the eastern section of Walter Galt Reserve. The works are required to assess the suitability of the land for future uses. These works form part of the site assessment and selection phase of planning, for the new district level aquatic and leisure facility, to be built in Kingston’s central/south region.

Commencement: Monday 26 July
Hours of work: 8am - 4:30pm
Duration: Expected to take up to 5 days

The proposed works involve the drilling of up to 17 bore holes.

Works will require the use of drilling equipment, that will make some noise during operation, however contractors will aim to reduce the disruption to neighbours, community centre and park users, and school visitors where possible.

Walter Galt Reserve will remain open for public use during the works. A safe perimeter around the work zones will always be maintained. Once work is completed, all bores will be backfilled or securely capped.

April 2021

At the April 2021 Ordinary Council Meeting, Council adopted the Aquatic Facility Plan(PDF, 1MB) which will guide the development of a new aquatics and leisure centre.

Under the Aquatic Facility Plan, a new ‘district level’ aquatic and leisure centre will be delivered in Kingston with expanded facilities to meet community needs for activities such as warm water exercise and improved learn to swim programming. It outlines a ‘two-facility model’ that incorporates Waves Leisure Centre as the regional (larger) level facility in the north of Kingston and the proposed new centre as the district level facility to be located in the central/south. It should be noted that the old Don Tatnell pool was regarded as a local level facility.

The community was consulted through the development of the Plan, including a six-week consultation process in 2020 with surveys and webinars, which saw 2300 people engage with the consultation page, 240 surveys completed and 73 people attending the two webinars held.

September 2020

Consultation on the draft Aquatics Facility Plan closed on Friday 11 September. Thank you to everyone that participated.

We are now reviewing the feedback received and expect to present it to the newly elected Council for their consideration in early 2021.

You can sign up for project updates to stay informed as the project progresses.

July - August 2020

As part of setting a strong foundation for the planning of the new centre, we are currently undertaking consultation on step one - the draft Aquatics Facility Plan.

We'd like to know what you think and are seeking your input to help guide the future direction of Kingston's aquatic facilities.

If you missed our series of online community information sessions, you can access the most commonly asked questions (available above in the December 2021 - February 2022 update).

June 2020

As part of the project to create a new aquatic and leisure centre for Kingston, a range of options are being developed for Councillors to consider before making any final decisions including:

  • Scope and cost of repairs required to re-open the Don Tatnell Leisure Centre, as set out at the June Council meeting
  • Options for the development of a leisure centre and additional co-located indoor basketball courts to be located in Kingston’s South Ward, as set out at the March Council meeting
  • Potential sites for a new leisure centre that would allow for expanded and improved facilities.

March - June 2020

Council officers have been working to set a strong foundation for the creation of a new aquatic centre for Kingston.

Action has included:

  • Review of existing facility (Waves and Don Tatnell) performance over time
  • Benchmarking other facilities in Victoria and across Australia
  • Interviewing other facilities that have been recently redeveloped to determine key learnings from other projects
  • Reviewing demographic forecasts for Kingston to determine future community needs
  • Research into current industry trends in the provision of aquatic and leisure services and facilities.

February 2020

Kingston Councillors have called for a report into options for a new aquatic and leisure centre to explore:

  • the service needs for a new facility
  • potential locations, including the option to rebuild at the current site
  • funding required to build the new centre.

Following a review and benchmarking of existing facilities, a community needs assessment and industry trends analysis, a draft Aquatics Facilities Plan will be presented to Council.

History of Don Tatnell Leisure Centre

Closure of Don Tatnell

In early 2020, serious structural issues were identified at the Don Tatnell Leisure Centre, making it unsafe for use. Due tot this, Don Tatnell Leisure Centre was closed in February 2020.

Council was saddened to close the centre, which has been much-loved by our community for more than 40 years. Council announced it would now plan a new aquatic and leisure facility to serve the community.

The closure came after Council detected issues at the centre during maintenance works on pipework buried deep under the pool.

The centre was temporarily closed, with hopes that repair works could see the facility re-opened.

Unfortunately the older age of the building, coupled with major structural issues caused by water leaks over time had left the building and pool foundations on very unstable ground.

Emergency works were undertaken to stabilise the building, however it could not re-open without major costs and significant construction works to make the building safe and compliant for the community. Initial estimates indicate this would cost at least $9 million, with a 10-month closure to simply return the building to a basic useable state – without providing any further improvement in services in the already aged centre.

Many memories have been made at Don Tatnell Leisure Centre - learning to swim, training for competitive swimming or attending the gym and fitness classes. As a hub for the community, it has sparked long-term connections and friendships, with some community members attending since its opening.

Council is now focusing on planning a new aquatic and leisure centre in Kingston to meet the current and future needs of our community.


The history of Don Tatnell dates back to one of Port Phillips’s worst storms in history, that of November 1934 and the destruction of Mordialloc’s historic sea baths.

In the early twentieth century, local bathers enjoyed swimming in the Mordialloc Baths which had been erected in 1884. But the storm of November 1934 saw huge waves strike the foreshore and the baths destroyed, with the damage tipped to cost £3,000.

With the community struggling with the impact of the Great Depression, Councillors could not find the money for the necessary repairs, and the baths were demolished.

A replacement concrete pool was suggested, but despite a small group campaigning for the creation of a new swimming venue, and several Councillors recognising the need, the post-World War II period saw Councillors focussed on higher-priority projects such as the construction of roads and drains. It was a long wait for the pool the community dreamed of.

Opening Don Tatnell

In April 1979, Mordialloc Council accepted a tender for the design and construction of Don Tatnell at a cost of $620,000, with contributions from the Youth Centre and funds raised by public appeal.

Don Tatnell Leisure Centre opened on 2 December 1979 by the Mordialloc Council with a 25-metre swimming pool and four squash courts, named in the honour of City Engineer Don Tatnell.

Its opening followed almost 20 years of visioning, planning, lobbying and discussion from parents, teenagers, community organisations and a Council-appointed advisory committee.

The 1979 opening of the facility was celebrated by the community and the 25-metre pool was a welcome relief to competitive swimmers and coaches in particular who had previously had to travel to inner suburban pools, or brave the conditions and jellyfish of Port Phillip Bay – where it was impossible to practice starts and turns. Parents were now reassured with a local facility for children to safely swim under supervision too.

Upgrades and refurbishments 

In 1989, ten years after the facility opened, extensions were made to add a spa, steam room and sauna. Further improvements including a gymnasium were added in 1993.

In 2002, Kingston Council in partnership with SCOPE Victoria, converted the under-utilised squash courts into a two-level structure with rooms to facilitate SCOPE’s services and an additional gymnasium on the upper level.

Over the years, further capital improvements have been made including:

  • 2011: Office and gymnasium upgrades
  • 2012: Pool hall ceiling replacement, heating upgrades, filtration upgrades, entry refurbishment
  • 2014: Changerooms refurbishment
  • 2016: Spa upgrades
  • 2017: Sauna refurbishment

The most significant upgrade to the facility was the project which linked the Don Tatnell Leisure Centre and the Mordialloc Community Centre in 2015.

At the time of its closure, Don Tatnell had members who had been part of the Don Tatnell family for decades – and the news of its closure was sad for its staff, members and visitors.

View more detailed information about the history of Don Tatnell.

Community consultation will form a large part of this project along the journey and we encourage you to join our mailing list to receive project updates and opportunities direct to your inbox.

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Governor Rd/Wells Rd, Mordialloc 3195  View Map

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