National Aquatic Industry Safety Awards
Excellence in Aquatic Technical Operations
Cockburn Aquatic Centre
The Cockburn ARC opened in May 2017 and the Centre caters for the recreation activities of thousands of residents from across Perth’s southern metropolitan corridor. The Technical Operations team consists of 3 full-time Duty Managers, a Team Leader and a Coordinator. The Centre has 9 water bodies, and is one of the largest of its kind in Western Australia. Our plantrooms consist of state of the art equipment and focus on safety and long term sustainability, to minimise our impact on our local community. We have also trained 10 casual staff in our plant operations over the last 11 months.
The need for a high quality aquatic and recreation Centre to service the growing community was first identified by the City of Cockburn back in 2009. With a rapidly growing population and existing leisure facilities reaching the end of their lifespan, the City decided to create a unique facility for the community at Cockburn Central West. The resulting Centre is one of the largest developments of its kind in Australia. The Centre is also the home of Fremantle Football Club. The City of Cockburn has a commitment to sustainability and the operations systems in place reflect this endeavour.
We are installing a Swim Wall into our 50m pool in late May and this will provide greater programming flexibility to assist us in best utilising all space available. In the plantroom we will be installing air relief valves to all lint pots; manual dosing points to the pre-filter lines; and are investigating the installation of a chiller loop to the Chlorine Generator. We also intend to install a Wibbit water feature over the 2018/2019 summer period.
What it means
The last 12 months have been incredibly challenging for all of the Operations team members. We have launched one of the largest facilities in Australia, and our attendance rates have far exceeded expectations. The demands placed on the Operations team have been extensive, and great deals of personal sacrifices have been made in order to provide this Centre to our local community. We have trained vast amounts of staff in innovative and safer technologies whilst managing unprecedented patronage rates, and to win this award would provide recognition to our staff for their contributions, and encourage other Centre's to implement safer methods of operating within their facilities.
Describe how the nominee has provided a contribution to their community / industry in Aquatic Technical Operations
The Cockburn ARC is located in a densely populated housing and commercial area, and all efforts were made to minimise the impact on the local community through design considerations. We use Geothermal heating for all pools so consume minimal gas comparative to other centres and have solar panels to minimise the volume of electricity we consume. We generate our own Chlorine on site with a salt generator, which is safer for our Pool Operators to use and much safer for the community than have Gas Chlorine or Liquid Chlorine on site. We have trained 15 operators in this new technology.
Describe (and provide evidence) of improvements and/or achievements made in Aquatic Technical Operations over the past 12-18 months
Throughout the last year we have trained 15 staff in plant operations at Cockburn ARC, specifically Defender Filters and operating the Chlorine Generator. Defender filters eliminate significantly less water than all other filter types, and the use of the Chlorine Generator has minimised risk of harm to our staff and the local community members that may have occurred with Liquid or Chlorine Gas. As the first centre in Western Australia to utilise this technology, we have taken it upon ourselves to train as many operators as possible in order to disseminate that knowledge throughout our industry. Many of our staff work in other metropolitan centres across Perth.
Describe how the nominee has shown commitment to the health and safety through Aquatic Technical Operations
The City of Cockburn has a strong commitment to health and safety, and as such we enlisted an external contractor to complete a chemical site audit for us in June 2017 and asked Royal Life to complete a Centre safety audit in May 2017. We created Job Safety Analysis for all plantroom tasks prior to opening and created our training procedures based on this information. Throughout summer due to high patronage we ran with 2 Duty Managers simultaneously in peak times, and we selected high performing lifeguards to develop them into competent plant support Operators.
Describe what barriers have been encountered by the nominee in Aquatic Technical Operations and how have they been overcome
Several barriers have been encountered due to the nature of utilising innovative technologies. As the technology was so progressive, even though we had very experienced operators in the team none had prior knowledge of the plant systems so everyone had to learn as we went. Several plant items failed during our defect period, and the Operators had high demands placed on them to maintain the pool operations throughout summer. It was particularly challenging when the generator overheated in January and stopped producing chlorine, meaning in peak operations the Operations Supervisors were required to manually fill an auxiliary vat every few hours.