20 September 2023

Leeton news wrap: new waterslide set to open as Roxy Theatre redevelopment hits more trouble

| Oliver Jacques
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Waterslide with a guy testing it

A waterslide at the Leeton pool is being tested in readiness for summer. The man who took the first ride in the cold was considered very brave. Photo: Supplied.

A much-awaited nine-metre high twin-ring waterslide is set to be open to the public at Leeton Regional Aquatic Centre on Saturday 21 October.

A slide had been promised for the past two seasons but was delayed due to COVID-19 and tradesman shortages. But with a likely hot summer in store for 2023/24, some good news was recently conveyed to residents.

“Works on the waterslide at the Leeton Regional Aquatic Centre are continuing to make great progress in readiness for the upcoming season,” Leeton Shire Council said in a statement.

“Testing of the waterslide was completed on Thursday, 7 September. Next steps will include fencing and landscaping which is set to occur from mid-September.

“Experienced waterslide installers Swimplex Aquatics have been engaged to deliver the waterslide project and their diligent team has already successfully unloaded and checked off all components on-site.”

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Mayor Cr Tony Reneker said he was pleased with the project’s advancement.

“The waterslide project signifies a noteworthy step forward for our community, enriching our regional aquatic centre and offering an enjoyable destination for both residents and visitors. I look forward to seeing more progress made now that all components have arrived.”

Spiral middle of the waterslide

The waterslide will make Leeton the envy of Griffith, which does not have a similar water attraction. Photo: Supplied.

The slide will include a nine-metre high tower comprised of three staircases and three levels, which are connected at the top platform, and which then wind down into multiple loops before exiting into two run-off chutes at the bottom. The chutes will be constructed on the existing concrete foundation.

The top platform will also feature a shade sail for sun protection, a traffic light system that will indicate when it’s your turn, and safety features including an automatic stop button. An operator located at the top to guide users will add to patron safety.

Roxy Theatre redevelopment update

In other Leeton news, the $11 million redevelopment of the Roxy Theatre has been dealt with a further blow, with HME Services, the company engaged to deliver specialist sound and lighting equipment for the Roxy, entering voluntary liquidation in August. PKF in Brisbane has been appointed as the administrators.

This follows the principal contractor Lloyd Group going into liquidation in March 2023, with the council itself taking over the project management a few months later.

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The council has reported that it appears a multi-million dollar project in Queensland left HME badly out of pocket and a serious road accident saw the company without a managing director for several months.

“The HME sound and lighting contract for the Roxy was worth $868,000, with council having paid $300,000 as a milestone one advance payment on 31 March 2023 for the procurement of specialist equipment which, contractually, immediately became council owned goods. It has, however, recently been determined that the goods were never actually ordered by HME,” council said in a statement.

Deputy Mayor and portfolio lead for arts and culture, Cr Michael Kidd, said the news was very disappointing but the build would continue.

“To have not one but two companies go belly up on this project is extremely unfortunate … even unprecedented. The loss will hurt but we are determined to brush off the dust and get back to looking for additional funding opportunities to close the gap,” he said.

Council’s project manager Gideon Vos, who attended the HME creditors’ meeting, said that while council was unlikely to recoup the money, the news would not affect the project delivery timeline.

“Our focus right now is on getting in the steel reinforcement which means we still have time to procure integrated elements of the sound and lighting equipment with our remaining funds. The big relief is that HME did complete shop drawings for the integrated fit-out and the liquidators have agreed to release those drawings to us which will be helpful,” he said.

The 1930-built art deco structure is being redone to include an enhanced foyer, two cinemas and a performing arts school.

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