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Have your say on Narooma sport and leisure precinct: plus Will Narooma keep its 50m pool?

Eurobodalla Council is seeking community feedback on a draft Plan of Management for the Narooma Sport and Leisure Precinct, which incorporates Bill Smyth Oval, NATA Oval, the swimming and leisure centres and the foreshore up to Ken Rose Park.

The draft plan outlines how these areas can be used, developed and managed, how leases and licences or other interests are granted, and guides the scale and intensity of development. It features a range of actions centred on growing tourism, passive recreation, events and formal sporting use, and protecting and enhancing natural and cultural features.

The draft plan proposes that two land parcels within the precinct be re-categorised to ‘natural area’. The first is the treed hill on the southern side of Bill Smyth Oval, already a designated Aboriginal Heritage Conservation Area, while the second is a small area below the high tide line of Wagonga Inlet on the northern side of the foreshore.

This categorisation supports maintenance of these areas in their natural state while still allowing for community use that minimises disturbance. The rest of the precinct will maintain the dual categorisation of ‘park’ and ‘general community use’, providing a broad flexibility in how this public land can be used.

Council is required to prepare Plans of Management for its community land under the Local Government Act 1993. The draft Plans of Management development involved extensive stakeholder and community engagement, including with user groups and sporting clubs, local business and tourism operators, the Wagonga Local Aboriginal Land Council, the general public, various state government organisations and Council staff.

The draft Plan of Management for the Narooma Sport and Leisure Precinct will be on public exhibition from Wednesday 12 August until Wednesday 9 September and submissions will be accepted until Wednesday 23 September, 2020. The draft Plan of Management outlines as part of its Desired Outcomes that the identified changes suggested for the Bill Smyth Oval and Leisure Centre "are designed to enable both the short and long-term progression of the sporting groups and their recreation / sporting activities. In the long-term, use of the sites for larger and high-level competitions is envisaged, providing opportunity for grass-roots through to high level competition to be attained locally whilst simultaneously supporting potential for sports tourism. "Establishing a second competition field at Bill Smyth Oval and facilitating better use of the Swimming Centre site and surrounds will be key to these outcomes. With respect to the Swimming Centre in particular, these opportunities will have the co-benefit of supporting retention of the pool through establishing the vitality / feasibility needed to support related commercial opportunities." The Draft Plan of Management says of the Swimming Centre: "Comprising a 50m indoor pool facility with outdoor splash pad, clubroom and administrative facilities. The clubroom is used for exercise classes, yoga and swimming club activities. As the existing buildings and facility relationship to the adjoining foreshore is relatively poor, long term planning has been identified as being required to maximise Eurobodalla Shire Council Narooma Sport and Leisure Precinct - Plan of Management participation and assess feasibility to provide enhanced aquatic, community health and fitness facilities. Whilst some facilities are in reasonable condition (or new, as per the splash pad constructed in 2018/19), others are reaching the end of their useful life and forward planning for new buildings and plant are needed through the life of the Plan of Management." The recently adopted Eurobodalla Aquatic Strategy states: Narooma Swimming Centre has an indoor 50m pool, however the pool is ageing, has no ramp entry and has variable water depths. The Centre also includes a small low depth outdoor pool, ageing changing rooms, non-contemporary kiosk and reception arrangements. Following a detailed inspection in 2014, it was found that the Centre will need some fairly major work in the not too distant future. Initially further investigation was recommended to establish what is actually happening to the pool and surrounding structure. There is evidence of foundation and subgrade movement which is likely to be a result changes in the ground water conditions. Initially, a leak test of the pool and pipe work and rectification of the associated leaks was recommended. The report recommended that a geotechnical engineer be engaged to review the material under the concourse and around the pool and building structure. This should provide sufficient information to establish what is causing the movement. To determine if the pool shell is to be retained, it recommended that destructive testing and defect mapping be undertaken to determine the effective life left in the pool shell. This investigation can also confirm what is happening at the expansion joints. These works would enable informed discussion of the pros and cons of pool repair versus pool replacement and the various options available, together with the preparation of associated costs for each of the options to enable a business case analysis to be undertaken. Major recommended works were:  Provision of access ramp into the 50m pool - $150,000 (Long Term)  New filtration system - $400,000 (Long Term)  New reticulation pipework to pools - $250,000 (Long Term).

Above: On the basis of the numbers above the Narooma Pool is performing substantially below expectations. This same poor visitation and revenue stream was the justification for the Eurobodalla Aquatic Strategy recommending the removal of the Batemans Bay 50m pool with the consultant stating that a 50m pool is not financially viable in a population under 100,000. Eurobodalla ratepayers subsidised $7.60 per visit to the Narooma Pool in 2015/ 16. With bushfires and Covid the revenues for the pool in 2019-2020 are expected to be at an all time low. According to the adopted Eurobodalla Aquatic Strategy: Implications for Eurobodalla Aquatic Facilities source All three of Council’s swimming centres have ageing facilities and do not reflect contemporary aquatic facility trends, include components that contribute to successful facilities and/ or cater for a diversified range of markets. The 2014 Site Inspection Report Aquatic Facilities Audit found the Batemans Bay and Moruya pools appeared to be fair condition with no areas of concrete spall or rust staining being noted. Concrete cracks, spall and rust staining is used as an indicator of the condition of the concrete pool shell. No indicators being observed suggests the pools are in relatively good condition. However, given the age of the pools, it is unlikely these pools will remain fit-for-purpose in the long term. Cracks were observed for the Narooma indoor pool in the top wall and the in the portion of wall above the concourse slab. Much of the cracking did not have rust staining suggesting that the cracks may be limited to the renders and surface treatments. Brown Consulting recommended Council obtain a better understanding of the condition of the pool shell by undertaking destructive testing and defect mapping. The findings of this testing should be used to inform the timing of redeveloping this pool for inclusion within Council’s forward capital works budgets. Whilst the co-location of aquatic facilities with other elements (eg health and fitness, wellness, retail and food and beverage) support a centre to better maximise its viability, once the proposed new Batemans Bay Leisure Centre is developed it is highly unlikely Council will be able to meet the capital and operational funding required to upgrade its other pools to this level. While the draft Narooma Sport and Leisure Precinct Plan of Management 2019-2024, now on exhibition, fails to make any mention of the condition of the pool and its long term prospects it does offer: "Narooma Swimming Centre: As the only pool facility of its kind currently in the LGA, the Swimming Centre plays an important role for both the Narooma and broader community. There is however potential to change the configuration and to 'open up' the facility to the adjoining foreshore to create greater connectivity and activation." In November 2017 Clr Phil Constable told the Narooma News that "the council had invested significantly in refurbishing the Narooma pool, including a new pool bottom just in the past year, and it would continue to be the shire’s premier swimming venue. What’s more, he said he was excited about the Narooma pool’s long-term future as the council had applied for a grant for a master plan to redevelop the whole inlet foreshore area, including the pool, sports and leisure centre, town wharf, NATA Oval and visitor information centre." An independently-chaired public hearing will be held at 5.30pm on Wednesday 26 August at Club Narooma to seek community comment on the re-categorisation of the two land parcels, in accordance with state legislation. Discussion around the future of the 50m pool is presently not on the table. The following however is the suggested by the Narooma POM landscape masterplans - 5-Nov-2019


The opportunity to participate online via Zoom will also be available - visit www.esc.nsw.gov.au/events for details.

The view the draft plan visit www.esc.nsw.gov.au/publicexhibition

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