Issue 26

Cotton Tree Makes A Splash

A safer, louder and more efficient sound system for Queensland’s Cotton Tree Aquatic Centre.


21 October 2021

Nestled under the palms and overlooking the tranquil Maroochy River, Cotton Tree Aquatic Centre is a Sunshine Coast Council owned water park run by SwimFit. With three heated pools of 50m, 25m and 12.5m in length, the venue caters to the whole family.

Council staff had identified poor performance from the existing public announcement systems and flagged it as a safety risk, being inaudible in most zones of the centre. 

Selected from a contractor panel (Register of Pre-Qualified Suppliers for Trade and General Maintenance Services) that the council updates every four years, Asset Electrical was asked to take a look at the facility and see what they could do to fix the audio problems.


Terry Jones, Senior Project Manager of Council Division at Asset, took on the challenge and the first site visit uncovered a mess: “There were lots of old speakers. Some were pointing up in the air, acting as water catchers. There were so many joins in the cable. It was all pretty average.”

Knowing that audio wasn’t a house specialty, he went to local electrical wholesaler Haymans Warana to see what solutions they could supply. They in turn contacted Brendon McDonald at NAS, who agreed to advise them in what to do. 

First step was binning the mish-mash of band-aided ‘solutions’ that barely worked and starting from scratch. Venue operators called for two zones of IP rated speakers to cope with all the moisture in such an environment.

Adapting to new product line and supply chain is difficult in any industry. Terry was wise to this and nurtured the connection with NAS. “Brendon has been really good for us. He’s quite happy to come down or take phone calls, and we are developing a good relationship. He knows what he’s talking about.”


Brendon’s solution recommended a Cloud CX163 zone mixer, CXV425 amplifier and inDESIGN IP rated speakers. Zone 1 called for two iD-MH1512 12-inch loudspeakers at one end of the 50m pool tapped at 100w each, then two iD-MH158 eight-inch loudspeakers at the far end of the main pool to be tapped at 75w each. Zone 2 was allocated an iD-MH158 for the kids splash area and another iD-MH158 in the hydrotherapy area – both tapped at 37.5w. 

Keeping it all neat and tidy, the amps are housed in an inDESIGN 6RU wall mounted rack and powered from an inDESIGN iDR-PR12 power rail. Asset staff did all the installation work of cabling, speaker hangs and rackwork, getting Brendon to visit site and help commission the system. Here, he knew he was on a winner. “I had the system running nicely and was very proud when one of the lifeguards complained about my Christmassy test track being too loud.”

The other part of fixing the problem is ‘doing it right the first time’. Terry’s team ran conduit for all cabling. They also added spare runs, because to Terry “the cost of conduit is low compared to the labour cost of digging and filling a trench every time you want to run a new cable.” 

With a background in heavy industry, he also looks past initial capex to ongoing maintenance costs over the lifespan of an installed asset. Fortunately, Terry has found several key managers at the Council “of the same belief that things in the public arena need to be done properly.”


Doing things properly has already landed more jobs like this for Asset. They recently completed a similar system at Caloundra indoor stadium and, off the back of that, Terry is proud that “we have just been approved to do Kawana Aquatic Centre.”

It seems to be snowballing a bit: “We’ve found putting up some new speakers makes the old ones elsewhere look bad. That’s worked in our favour as well.” Do a good job and you often get rewarded.

Distributor Haymans Warana also enjoyed the process. Branch Projects Officer, Stuart McHardy was happy to get “quality product for a really decent price.” The whole process for them was and is “pretty seamless – we get a list supplied, send off the order, then get it delivered.”

It looks like the combination of fit for purpose products, good operators and an efficient supply chain will keep Sunshine Coast swimmers safe while they splash, now and into the future.


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