Prince Alfred Park Pool & Coronation Centre Opening

(12pm, Saturday 19 October 2013, Prince Alfred Park)

Thank you, Stephen, [Gilby] and hello, everyone. The day has come to officially welcome you to opening of Prince Alfred Park Pool and the Coronation Centre.

I'd like firstly to acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, the traditional custodians of our land, and to pay my respects to their Elders. I also acknowledge the people of 200 nations who live in our City.

The old Cleveland Paddock is now back as one of Sydney's great parks. We've completed the largest upgrade in 50 years, with extensive work on both the Coronation Centre, Pool and of course the park.

The Coronation Centre was built by the City in 1937 as a "field house" for children in the playground that celebrated the coronation of King George VI.

We removed some ugly additions from the 1950s and 60s and refurbished the original fabric and reinstated the feature ceiling. The Centre now includes:

  • An enlarged hall for community activities
  • A new tennis admin centre
  • New change rooms and
  • Accessible entries

It's also a greener, more sustainable building, with:

  • Improved natural lighting and low-energy artificial light
  • Solar panels, natural ventilation and rainwater recycling for toilet flushing
  • Low-flush toilets and low-flow taps with automatic shut-off
  • Double glazing and insulation for better thermal performance
  • No rainforest timbers and
  • Low VOC internal paints

It's a great improvement and I congratulate and thank:

  • Our architects, Kennedy Associates and project architect, Erin Owens
  • J+CG Construction, especially Theo Penglis and Paul Dermatis
  • And from the City of Sydney, our parks, trees and aquatic services staff, including David Burns and Patrick Houlcroft and
  • Our city projects and property staff, including Narelle Naumcevski, Matthew Gribben and Lisa Dodd, and project manager, Annelise Beljaars.

Well done to all of you.

The pool was more of a challenge. We wanted it to fit into the landscape of the park, not be a dominant building. Thus the first design was replaced by this beautiful scheme that is enveloped in native meadow and is surrounded by grassy hillocks. The yellow umbrellas are a delight.

As you all know, we were able to open the western part of the park some time ago, but construction on the pool was delayed for a number of reasons including serious contamination and some of the worst autumn and winter rainfalls on record. When we were finally able to open, we instituted free entry until November 12 as a thank you for your patience.

Those of you who've taken advantage of that will have enjoyed:

  • The improved accessibility
  • The sky-lit change rooms, café and kiosk
  • The shaded toddler splash deck and water toys
  • New fencing and seating
  • A state-of-the-art water filtration system
  • Energy-efficient lighting and heating
  • Water-saving fixtures and
  • The generous shaded areas for sunbathing and seating

The pool has been designed with space for low-carbon technologies to heat the pool and provide greener electricity for the pool, park and Coronation Centre and we've started design work on a new low-carbon fuel cell.

This 21st century technology will be installed in what was once a woodland of tall trees and a camping place for local Gadigal people. The indigenous grasses planted here recall its indigenous story and its 19th century use as the Cleveland Paddock for grazing, which stayed until it became a park in 1865.

Other new or refurbished features of the park include

  • International standard tennis and basketball courts
  • Customs designed furniture and energy-efficient lighting
  • New paths
  • Picnic, barbecue and play areas
  • And a fabulous exercise circuit with four fitness stations.

It's a fantastic new leisure-ground for Sydney, and I thank everyone involved in it. It has already won the NSW Public Domain Awards from Cement Concrete and Aggregates Australia, and won in the Architecture Mixed Use Constructed category at the 2013 Sydney Design Awards on Wednesday night, and it has been shortlisted in two categories for the World Architecture Festival. (Announced mid-Oct)

It is recognition of the quality of what has been achieved here, and I would especially like to pay tribute to Nick Murcutt who, with his wife, Rachel Neeson and their talented team of Architects, notably Jenny Hein, Isabelle Toland, Tamas Jones and Joe Grech, designed the pool complex.

Nick was acknowledged as an enormously gifted architect, and his death in 2011, aged just 46, robbed Sydney of all the contributions he would have made. It was also, of course, a devastating blow to his family especially Rachel, their children, Alice and Otto, and Nick's many, many friends. This park has, in a sense, become his memorial. I acknowledge his father Glenn Murcutt - a great Australian architect.

I will ask Rachel to say a few words shortly.

Meanwhile, I congratulate and thank Neeson Murcutt Architects and

  • Sue Barnsley Design for the integrated park design
  • Lymesmith, the chimney artists
  • John Oultram heritage and design
  • CTI Consultants, our waterproofing specialist
  • Light Art + Science for the lighting
  • Access Associates
  • Our engineers, Acor
  • SDA Structures and
  • Frost Design for the signage

I also thank our City Projects team for a marathon effort, especially

  • Collette Holland
  • Matt McDonald
  • John O"Shea
  • Jason Green
  • Reece Hollingsworth
  • Lisa Dodd
  • Elizabeth Sandoval and
  • Daniel Butterick.

Thank you all for everything you've done to make this such an outstanding sport and recreation centre for Sydney. I'm thrilled to formally open it today.