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Council dives in to keep town pools afloat

10th November 2020

Wakefield Regional Council has recognised the importance of its local swimming facilities, voting at a special council meeting Wednesday night in support of a significant investment to bring each site up to required standards.

There are three Council-owned swimming pools in the area, located at Balaklava, Owen and Hamley Bridge.

These facilities are more than 50 years old, no longer meet compliance requirements and had reached a critical point in their life cycle and closure talks were on the cards.

A condition assessment on all three sites revealed a series of issues with leaking pool shells and outdated, ineffective filtration systems.

WRC mayor, Rodney Reid, said while Council’s investment in its pool facilities had been limited in recent history, the decision by Council highlights its recognition of the value communities place in their respective swimming pools.

“As soon as Council was aware of the condition assessments and associated repair costs, we acted quickly to bring the swimming pool committees up to speed with the issues at each site and what works were required to ensure they were compliant,” Mayor Reid said.

“The swimming pool committee representatives clearly communicated their desire to keep their swimming pools open and continue providing a recreational outlet for all members of their communities.

“While acknowledging the expensive nature of the works, the provision of recreational facilities for our community is at the core of Council’s responsibilities and this timely investment should ensure these pools are open to residents for many years to come.”

As part of the discussion, Council voted in favour of spending more than $45,000 on short term renewal works at the Owen pool to open it for a majority of the summer swimming season.

Council will also pursue more than $400,000 in grant funding to support about $800,000 of required renewal works at the Owen pool following the summer.

In a bid to have Hamley Bridge pool open later this season, Council will invest more than $400,000 in renewal works, while design works for the Balaklava main pool shell have also been factored in.

WRC CEO, Andrew MacDonald, said Council had positioned itself to attract as much grant funding as possible.

“The Premier’s announcement of a $100 million infrastructure funding program coming in this year’s State Budget is unprecedented and Council recognised it must have well-developed, fully costed plans for projects to attract funding and deliver projects the community wants,” he said