Dear Beagle Editor
During the Our Town Our Say (OTOS) campaign to try and save the Batemans Bay 50-metre pool, we’ve heard much rhetoric from the Mayor and her executive staff, claiming that no-one wants 50-metre pools anymore. We thought we would do a fact check !
Members of OTOS have carried out a survey of all 128 Councils in NSW. The results, summarised below, show that 50-metre pools are still quite popular.
In most areas, Councils have 50-metre and 25-metre lap pools (or 33 metre pools) as well as leisure pools for learning, splash play or kids water activities. For our survey, 33-metre Council pools were also counted as 25-metre pools. Aquatic centres are certainly appearing, when older single-pool facilities are upgraded. Privately owned and operated pools (for instance in Penrith) were not counted. Ocean Pools were not counted.
The Facts • 27 Councils (21%) do not own or operate 50-metre pools (but note private pools). • Some Councils have more than one and up to seven 50 and/or 25-metre pools. • There are 172 50-metre pools across 128 Councils. • There are 196 25-metre pools across 128 Councils. • 151 (42%) of these pools, combined, are heated for year-round availability.
Several Councils have successfully refurbished their 50-metre, 50-year old concrete pools, (like ours) including new vinyl liners, resealing of expansion joints, destructive testing to confirm their pool’s structural integrity (a technical service that was offered by Brown Consulting in 2014 - but ignored), replacement of pipes and sand filters (like ours) and integration of the refurbished pool within a new aquatic centre (yes! – that’s what we wanted!). All of these options were available to ESC, had they looked!
Some Councils took their community members into their confidence (wow - what a concept!) and involved them in the process of pool redevelopment at the outset, asking for their opinions and giving them a say in the design and level of facilities.
See how they did it, by visiting these websites.
Snowy Valleys Council http://www.snowyvalleys.nsw.gov.au/Have-Your-Say/Dip-Your-Toes-In-and-Have-Your-Say The Hills Shire Council https://www.thehills.nsw.gov.au/Contact-Us/Have-Your-Say/Waves-Aquatic-Centre-Upgrade
It may suit the Mayor’s ideological enthusiasm to claim that 50-metre pools are unpopular – but she should check the facts first, before spruiking such nonsense!
Our Town Our Say team
Maureen Searson, Peter Coggan, Coral Anderson