A strategy for the future upgrade of the ageing Sawtell and Woolgoolga swimming pools is going out for public consultation for 28 days from May 27 until June 25.
The strategy, which was developed by the SGL Consulting Group, draws on input from a community survey and stakeholder discussions held last year.
“Both pools are nearly 40 years old and the strategy recommends that they are rebuilt as refurbishment would not be cost-effective and they also need significant improvements in their on-site facilities,” said Andrew Beswick, Council’s Director Business Services.
“In addition, we understand aquatic recreational activities have come a long way in the past few decades, so we wanted a way forward that will provide for current and future community and visitor needs.”
SGL Consulting Group considered the condition and future life of the current facilities, the options for providing new facilities that locals and visitors would like and expect, population forecasts and the local leisure market. The survey and stakeholder consultation showed that there is community support for both pools to remain at their current sites.
SGL concluded that replacement is preferable to refurbishment for both pools. They recommended that each should remain as a 25-metre pool, but the swimming lanes should be increased from six to eight and incorporate gradual ‘beach entry’ slopes for people with disabilities. Splash pads and new ‘learn to swim’ pools should also be included, as well as new amenities and kiosks. Landscaping and shade sails are also recommended in initial concept designs.
“There are no issues around the location of the pool in Sawtell, but the site of the Woolgoolga complex has a number of considerations to be worked through which have been identified in the adopted Woolgoolga Town Centre Masterplan. The main one is to look at the precise location of the complex on the current site to allow for other possible community or commercial uses on the remaining land,” added Mr Beswick.
Council currently has $6m allocated over four years for the pools from Council’s previous special rate variation. This will not meet the costs of rebuilding both complexes and the amount of additional funding required from Council will need to be worked out at the detailed design and costing stage.
The strategy is available for viewing and comment on Council’s Have Your Say website, at local libraries and at Council’s Customer Service Centre.
The results of the consultation on the strategy will be reported back to Council for further consideration.