Fish Out of Water to fight dumping of $50 million Albury indoor pool complex

ALBURY councillors have been accused of political expediency rather than taking the tough decision to shut Lavington Swim Centre.

The Lauren Jackson Sports Centre indoor pool complex option rejected by an Albury Council committee on Monday night.

The Lauren Jackson Sports Centre indoor pool complex option rejected by an Albury Council committee on Monday night.

Former mayor and spokesman for the lobby group fighting for a $50 million indoor aquatic centre, Stuart Baker, said the Lavington pool was on “life support” and would remain a constant drain on ratepayer funds.

Closing Lavington Swim Centre and building the indoor pool complex option was rejected by a council committee on Monday night after two years of investigation by consultants.

“Every time there is an occupational health and safety audit it pretty well fails,” Mr Baker said.

“The patronage is dropping off and if it was a business you would walk away because it is not viable.

“For some reason they are trying to protect something that is shot.”

Replacing Lavington pool in 2021-22 was estimated to cost $12 million and in the short-term there was another $339,000 worth of remedial works needed to keep it open.

"All this money is going out and you still won't have any all-year-round water,” Mr Baker said.

Cr Henk van de Ven was one of the councillors to back-flip on support for the indoor facility.

He doubts council can attract the external funding target of $15 million for the indoor pool given Farrer MP Sussan Ley had lost her sports minister role.

“That window of opportunity has been firmly shut,” he said.

The Fish Out Of Water lobby group publicly endorsed Cr van de Ven, Cr Amanda Cohn, Cr David Thurley and Cr Alice Glachan at last year’s election with only the latter maintaining her support.

Cr Darren Cameron said he would back the committee’s call.

“Albury ratepayers simply can’t afford to indulge the fantasies of the Fish Out Of Water group,” he said.

“The model they are proposing would see up to $50 million of ratepayers’ money spent with a huge maintenance bill every year

“The dream facility they demand is predicated on robbing the children and people of Lavington of their own aquatic facility.”