The Goondiwindi Regional Council has been standing on the blocks but it’s time to dive in, according to Deputy Mayor Cr Rick Kearney.
“The Goondiwindi Memorial Pool and whether we upgrade or build a new complex has been on the drawing board for at least as long as the amalgamated council has existed,” he said on Monday. “Even longer. And the time has come for us to begin making some decisions,” he said. And the fact it is an election year in 2020 may just be the impetus the debate needs, he said.
Cr Kearney said the pool was a “fantastic” community facility whose future had to be carefully considered.
“You only have to look at it today (Friday last week). There are students from across the region, there’s nine instructors working plus a few teachers. It highlights how important the pool is for all our ratepayers and their families,” he said.
Over the years many options have been raised, including replacing the 50m olympic-sized pool with a heated 25m pool that can be used all year round. Cr Kearney’s preference is to keep 50m-sized pool but add a wet play area for children and to increase the present indoor heated pool.
Council recently inspected the pool facilities at Narrabri. “It’s very impressive but beyond our means,” Cr Kearney said. The Narrabri Council budgets for a loss of $900,000 a year. “We obviously can’t afford anything like that,” Cr Kearney said.
He’d also like to see additions made to the main pool so that it can be divided at the halfway mark so learn-to-swim classes can be conducted while also allowing public use. Cr Kearney said he would like to see Council spend “around” $5 to 6m on the pool to ensure it keeps up with public expectations and use. “The main issue is running costs,” he said. “Narrabri received great support from the mining industry. We don’t have that but I’d like to see local industry and even the education department look at helping with costs,” Cr Kearney said.
The Goondiwindi pool currently operates at a cost of about $220k per year before depreciation. This does not include most of the major maintenance works upwards of $60,000 this year.
Debate about the pool began due to maintenance issue brought about by the age of the infrastructure.
Fixing leaks in pipes and other works have been completed but the seal of the pool remains an issue.