Federation Council has given in-principle support to a 50-metre outdoor pool development at Corowa.
Three options for the site were shortlisted with two the subject of an hour-long debate on Tuesday; option 2A, involving a 25-metre indoor pool and an outdoor water-play space, and option four, offering the same water-play but with outdoor 50-metre and learner pools.
Councillor Paul Miegel first moved that council support the $10 million part-indoor facility, but was defeated.
“If you do what you have always done you will get what you have always got – what we will have is a new pool with same amount of usage,” he said.
“The 50-metre outdoor pool achieves maintaining the status quo.
“It’s important … to have a facility where the kids can learn to swim all year round.”
Cr Gail Law argued an indoor offering would cater to the older population, and compared its 52-week season to that of option four.
“If we’re going to spend $8 million on a facility open for 15 weeks of the year, when we can have something that can be used 365 days of the year, that’s absolutely ludicrous,” she said.
“If other councillors think it can be done cheaper, good, put the 50-metre in later, but we need an all-year-round facility,” she said.
The opposite was suggested by Cr Bronwyn Thomas, who pointed out “once the 50-metre pool is gone, it’s gone”.
“I know we’d like a staged approach, but if we have a 50-metre pool then we could look at 25-metre indoor, and narrow down what we want it for,” she said.
Deputy Mayor Shaun Whitechurch successfully moved that council provide in-principle support for option four.
“I go back to one of the reasons I came to council and that was I was personally sick of hearing about ratepayers going to public consultation to then find the council went against what the town said,” he said.
“We can get a hell of a lot more for the money council is looking to spend.”
Mayor Patrick Bourke stressed Tuesday’s decision was not to lock in final plans but to put out tenders for potential designs.
“We put our preference forward, see what the dollars come back as, and make our decision,” he said.
It would take a minimum of 11 months to construct a new pool, and a total of $4.43 million in funding is currently readily available for the project, with the remaining to be loaned or obtained through grants.
Corowa Skate Park petition tabled
Petitions signed by 2338 people calling for the Corowa skate park to be upgraded in its current location was presented to Federation Council at yesterday’s meeting.
A group of young people, who have been working with a community committee, asked councillors that “work start again on the skate bowl extension, and that the signatures be taken into account when making any decisions”.
The project was halted after concerns were raised a car wash development would lead to the skate park being relocated.
Councillor Fred Longmire said $333,000 was committed to the project in 2017 under the assumption the current skate park would be upgraded.
“I endorse the presentation today and remind council under the application that came forward from the skate park committee, the original context was to do with the area where it has been for so long,” he said.
“It destroys any debate or opportunity to go anywhere else but that location … let’s get on with it and make it happen for these kids.”