The South Hedland Aquatic Centre is set to finally reopen, more than eight months after it was closed, and six months behind schedule. The 44-year-old centre was initially shut in April for urgent repairs, but as work commenced, more issues arose, forcing the council to extend its expected two-month closure out to eight months. Town of Port Hedland Mayor Peter Carter said he was pleased to see the centre reopen in time for the Christmas school holidays. “We should get (the facility back from contractors) on the first of December, and by the fourth of December, hopefully, the grass will go in, and the pool will be ready to rock and roll,” he said. With the Gratwick Aquatic Centre in Port Hedland also plagued by maintenance issues and frequent closures, Mr Carter said he wanted to see a new facility built. “We can’t just keep spending and wasting ratepayer’s money on end-of-life products; we need to have new products, new pools, that aren’t just first class but will be world-class,” Mr Carter said. “You can’t just keep doing maintenance on stuff that’s 30-40 years old because it doesn’t work; it just comes back to bite you.” As a result of the repair complications, in July, the Town was forced to fast-track its plans to start the design process of the new aquatic centre. “Our ability to deliver a new pool depends on Government, both State and Federal and the resources industry partnering with us to help fund it,” Mr Carter said in a statement earlier this year. Some $8 million has been allocated in the town’s 2023-24 budget to progress the initial stages of the Hedland Sports and Community Hub, which will include the new aquatic facility. A master plan for the new $72.4 million aquatic centre, next to Kevin Scott Oval and Wanangkura Stadium, was released in 2021. Mr Carter believes a decent pool is integral to making Port Hedland hospitable. “Without a pool, the town isn’t very welcoming because it gets very hot, so it’s something that kids and the wider community will enjoy,” he said.