Progress. Circular Head Council has formally adopted the Nelson Street site as the location for a new pool.
A special meeting of council was held at the Circular Head Council Chambers on Tuesday night where the vote was passed unanimously.
The Circular Head War Memorial Swimming Pool was closed in October last year on the basis of public and employee safety concerns.
Director of Strategic Governance Matthew Saward presented the recommendation that council adopt the new site following community feedback received from the ‘Open Space, Sports and Recreation Plan’ during the public consultation process which began in November.
Mr Saward noted the future of a pool in Circular Head has been a priority of the council for many years, but the closure last year “brought about a lot more urgency” within the community.
@Leisure Planners identified considerations at both proposed sites but concluded the Anzac Park site would cost an additional $1 million to $1.5 million to provide a modern facility due to the topography of the site.
The Nelson Street site next to the Smithton Sports Centre had a greater appeal due to the close proximity of other sporting centres and the opportunity to design efficient vehicle and pedestrian accesses.
“This is a generational facility that will provide community needs for the next 50 years at least,” Mr Saward said.
Following the adoption of the site, council now have a March 11 deadline to submit an application for funding through the National Stronger Regions Fund
Council has cash reserves in the Long Term Financial Plan in excess of $10 million and will need approval from State Treasury to take out a loan. Council is confident of this approval given current low level of borrowings.
Stage one of the development of a new pool facility which will include but is not limited to a 25-metre, six lane, indoor heated pool, is expected to cost $8.5 million. Council is prepared to contribute $4.7 million from loans and cash reserves and seek external funding for the remaining $3.8 million. This figure was revised in the last week following a professional quantity surveying report.
In making the decision Circular Head Mayor Daryl Quilliam reminded councillors of the seriousness of the decision and future impacts it would have on the community.
“This is an extremely important decision which we have talked about for a long time,” he said. “It’s certainly exciting.”
Councillor Jan Bishop moved the motion which was seconded by Cr Norman Berechree.
“It is an exciting day as councillors to adopt and move forward in the process,” Cr Bishop said, she imagined the feeling would compare to those who made the decision to build the original Circular Head War Memorial Swimming Pool in the 1960’s.
“I feel we have a lot of community support. It is an exciting day for the community and a big responsibility as councillors.”
Cr David Woodward said the decision was a “big plus” for Circular Head.
“It’s great to see this happening, it is exciting,” he said.
“I believe it is not just a want but a need [for the community]. No person should not have the opportunity to learn to swim.
“As a personal user of the pool, I can’t wait to hear the first splash.”
Cr John Oldaker pledged his support, but reminded councillors and the community it would not happen without external funding.
Cr Berechree agreed with Cr Oldaker in saying: “I just want to reiterate that we have no hope without [external] funding, we need to keep pushing, which we will be.”