MOREE is set to make its biggest splash for the past 20 years with the opening of what Moree mayor Katrina Humphries says is the town’s “jewel in the crown of tourism”, the revamped Moree Artesian Aquatic Centre (MACC), this month.
Cr Humphries is super-excited about the opening, which will feature a concert pianist, formal attire and have a cocktail party theme.
She said even with two floods slowing down construction earlier this year, it hadn’t actually stopped businesses near the complex – originally built at the turn of the 20th century – from operating.
“Despite all the dramas that we’ve had – we’ve had two major floods – all the businesses around the pool have stayed open,” Cr Humphries said.
The complex, which Cr Humphries said had not had an upgrade for “20-plus years” has had
a complete makeover, incorporating a massage area, treatment rooms including acupuncture, a gym, sauna and beautician on site.
There are more pools and better access for the disabled.
A board of management has been created for the first time to run the centre – but Cr Humphries said the aquatic centre would “still be a council facility”.
“It will be run like the top resort it should be,” Cr Humphries said.
“(The board) fits into our business plan ... the MACC board will be responsible for the ongoing running of the whole complex (but) it’s still a council entity ... council will be responsible for a large part of the maintenance.
“The structure for the board of management (a CEO and four divisional managers) is with the minister for Local Government.”
She said it would take six to eight months for the minister to make a decision on the matter.
The centre’s original cost of $6.1 million had blown out somewhat because of the cost of the fit-out, which had not originally been included as part of the project cost, Cr Humphries said.
The federal government had tipped in $3 million and the rest, provided by the council, had “cost the locals less than $5 million”, she said.
But despite criticism by some of the cost blowout, Cr Humphries said nothing would rain on the
September 13 opening’s parade.
“We’ve waited for this for ages: it’s coming up and it’s going to be a very exciting time,” she said.
She said tourism was the “obvious thing” to keep Moree economically bouyant during any difficult times for agriculture.
“We want to show off our rural sophistication and hospitality,” Cr Humphries said.
“I am stoked with it ... we have a magnificent complex ... this is the jewel in our crown for tourism.”