7 March 2024

Construction finally starts on long-awaited southside hydrotherapy pool

| Ian Bushnell
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hydrotherapy pool artist's impression

What the Greenway hydrotherapy pool will look like. It will provide pain relief and exercise for people with chronic pain conditions including all types of arthritis. Images: ACT Government.

It’s been a long time coming but a date has finally been set for the completion of the new $8.5 million public hydrotherapy pool in Canberra’s south.

The ACT Government has appointed Monarch Building Solutions as head contractor after the recent development approval for the project. The Greenway facility next to the Tuggeranong Leisure Centre is now expected to open in the first half of 2025.

The pool was a 2020 ACT Labor election promise which followed years of lobbying from Arthritis ACT during the struggle to keep the ageing Canberra Hospital facility open.

It eventually closed in February 2020.

Users had been expected to travel to the University of Canberra facility but this proved difficult for many, especially those with mobility issues and specific conditions.

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The government commissioned a review of hydrotherapy services in Canberra and started initial planning for a new facility in 2019 but it has been a long road.

The long timeline and a lack of detail about the pool project disappointed Arthritis ACT but it welcomed the fact construction was now under way.

At a sod turning ceremony, Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said there had been extensive community consultation and engagement with stakeholders to inform the design of the facility.

“This milestone means that we are closer to improving access for people on Canberra’s southside who require hydrotherapy services,” she said.

“This facility will complement the hydrotherapy pool at the University of Canberra Hospital as well as private facilities on both the north and southside of Canberra.”

hydrotherapy pool artist's impression

Another view of the hydrotherapy pool coming to Greenway.

Hydrotherapy offers a vital service for a wide range of Canberrans. It provides those who have mobility challenges with an important form of recreation, supports better management of chronic pain caused by illnesses such as cancer, migraine, osteoarthritis and arthritis, and helps people recover from injury or surgery.

“The hydrotherapy pool is part of the ACT Government’s investment in more health infrastructure and services across the ACT to ensure Canberrans can access the right healthcare, at the right time, closer to home, including additional services at Tuggeranong Walk-in Centre and construction of a new health centre in south Tuggeranong,” Minister Stephen Smith said.

Arthritis ACT CEO Rebecca Davey said the hydrotherapy pool would be an essential piece of health infrastructure.

“For people living with chronic pain conditions which includes all types of arthritis, hydrotherapy is essential both to providing ongoing pain relief as well as a wonderful place to exercise, especially for those who get a lot of pain when exercising,” she said.

Ms Davey said the growing city needed to ensure the number of hydrotherapy pools kept pace with demand.

“Gone are the days when our older Canberrans left the city at the end of their career,” she said. “They now remain with their families and friends, and we need to ensure the infrastructure required to provide the services of these older Canberrans is in place to make this an enjoyable lifestyle choice.

“We look forward to there being adequate therapeutic hydrotherapy pools (that is, pools that run at a temperature of at least 34 degrees) in Canberra going into the future to meet the needs of our community.”

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Monarch Building Solutions director Marco Galeotti said the team was ready to dive straight into the construction of the new southside hydrotherapy pool and understood the importance of this facility to the local community.

“We look forward to collaborating with all stakeholders to bring this vision to life and delivering a facility that Canberrans can be proud of,” he said.

The government committed $8.5 million in the 2022–2023 ACT Budget for the design and construction of the new southside hydrotherapy facility.

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ONLY $8.5 million! The one in Hughes was built and then refurbished using the best of the construction industry (in the form of donations), apprentices and a helping hand ($75,000) through Michael Moore! Sure could have done with some of that $8.5 million then!

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