For the first time since community members made a splash in Swirl in May, Smithton Wellbeing Indoor Recreation and Leisure was still on Thursday August 29.
The warmth of the multi-million dollar facility was welcomed by all on a brisk winter day outside as community members gathered for the official opening.
A truly community-owned project, locals joined with Circular Head Councillors both past and present, contractors Stubbs Constructions and managers Belgravia Leisure, alongside state and federal politicians.
Seats surrounded the perimeter of the pool, as community members young and old reflected on the journey of this $12 million project.
“It’s been over 10 years now since we started developing [the idea] for this new facility,” Circular Head Mayor Daryl Quilliam said on the day.
“They say it takes a village to raise a child. In much the same way it takes a whole community to work together to achieve a project like this.”
Circular Head War Memorial Swimming Pool was closed in October, 2015.
In the years to follow, all levels of government were lobbied to secure funding for a replacement. In 2016, planning commenced as funding commitments began to filter through.
These plans became public at the end of 2016 before ground breaking and construction took place at the end of the following year.
The project was jointly funded with $3.5M from the state government, a federal government contribution of $3.8M from the National Stronger Regions Fund and funding from Circular Head Council completing the remaining $4.7M.
More than $30,000 was also raised by the Circular Head community, including through Splash for Cash, donations from Circular Head Garden Club, Smithton Lions Club, Rotary Club of Smithton, the Marrawah community and many more.
Kelly Honess’ extraordinary swim from Stanley to Smithton on Australia Day last year added to a mammoth fundraising effort.
The state of the art facility includes a six-lane 25 metre pool, three-lane six by 12.5 metre program pool and aquatic play area as well as multipurpose program spaces and gymnasium.
“We often talk about the new world and the new energy requirements,” Circular Head Council general manager Scott Riley said.
Swirl utilises woodchips supplied by Britton Timbers to fuel a biomass boiler system for its heating source. This is supplemented by solar hot water fitted to the roof of the Nelson Street facility.
“This part of the world is renowned for renewable energy. And in terms of being a bio-energy facility, [Swirl] is actually a leading space in terms of that conversation.”
Overwhelmed by the milestone moment last week, Liberal Member for Braddon Joan Rylah knows only too well how invested the Circular Head community is in this project.
“I remember what the pool used to be like, I would swim in a pool where the most overwhelming memory I have was of the wind blowing through you as you got out of the pool and it was a dash to the changing rooms, which were equally as windy.
“We have come a long way! This is an important facility for this community.”
Federal Member for Braddon Gavin Pearce said the facility is a sign of growth and prosperity.
“Circular Head is a go-ahead region. As well as its competitive advantages in agriculture, forestry and agricultural processing, it is also at the forefront of expansion in the renewable energy sector,” he said.
“Jobs go hand-in-hand with economic growth. It’s what attracts people to a region but it’s great facilities that keep them and their families here.”
With spring here and summer on the way, swimmers will be free to make the most of the new facility seven days a week from 6am to 8pm Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm on Saturdays and 9am to 5pm on Sundays. To find out more or purchase a membership, visit www.swirltas.com.au.