Narooma Swimming Centre will close to patrons for eight weeks from Monday 23 May while Eurobodalla Council repaints the pool and upgrades the facility’s air-handling system.
The pool shell, last painted in 2017, is starting to fade. New epoxy paint will provide a smoother surface, a vibrant finish and also protect the concrete underneath.
An upgrade of the facility’s 17-year-old failing air conditioning and heating system will result in more consistent temperatures in and out of the pool, energy efficiencies, and reduced humidity, which will increase the life of the pool’s plant and equipment. The Eurobodalla Aquatic Strategy, adopted in February 2017 offered: "Narooma Swimming Centre does not reflect contemporary aquatic facility trends, has few components that contribute to more successful facilities and/ or cater for a diversified range of markets. it has 37,440 visits per annum, which translated to 101 per day The report noted that while the centre provides basic services, it is dated, aesthetically poor and has a limited economically useful life. The study proposed the following development rationale: “Council’s swimming pools will play a central role in meeting a wide diversity of leisure, sport, fitness, health and social needs throughout the Shire. In doing so, the pools will seek to meet a range of needs which are not adequately provided for – particularly in the north and central precincts of the Shire. These needs include year-round fitness and club swimming, leisure swimming and warm water therapy. The upgraded program also addresses the advanced age of the pools and the associated asset maintenance issues – particularly with respect to the Narooma Indoor Pool.” The recommended upgrade/ redevelopment proposals for Narooma pool included: - Demolish existing facility. - Develop indoor program/ leisure pool and associated facilities (e.g. café) - Develop 50m x 8-lane pool in tank of existing indoor pool. - Provide for future expansion of dry facilities. Key recommendations in relation to aquatic facilities were: o Fill in children’s pool and replace with aqua play area. o Investigate co-location of additional facilities such as gym and café to improve economic viability. o Potential to redesign existing 50m pool to accommodate three separate bodies of water: 25m indoor pool, hydrotherapy and beach entry play pool. From analysis of previous research, patronage at all three of Council’s aquatic facilities are significantly subsidised, with Narooma having the highest cost per visit It was identified that replacing the 50m Narooma Pool with a 50m pool would be economically unviable. By way of comparison, based on comparing the estimated 2016 Narooma Pool catchment population of 8,077 against the CERM18 Group 7 Indoor Pools catchment multiple (8.8), total visitation of 71,078 could be achieved. On this basis Narooma Pool is performing substantially below expectations. However, it would be unlikely that Narooma Pool would perform in line with the median performance of pools in this category on the CERM database as the vast majority would be much larger than Narooma Pool and would therefore have far greater capacity to generate patronage and revenue. Council used the Aquatic strategy to argue the shire did not require two 50m pools and, as such, they determined to replace the Batemans Bay pool with a 25m pool. When the Narooma Pool requires replacement it will be argued that a 50m facility would be economically unviable and would require considerable supplementation of ticket prices due to the low patronage estimated serve a population of 8500 in 2036. NOTE: The The Eurobodalla Aquatic Strategy, adopted in February 2017
was presented to councillors unseen to vote on. It was developed by a consultant and used as the justification of a 25m pool replacement as per an option developed by that same consultant. The public were neither consulted or notified. This remains one of the gravest travesties of the Innes/Dale term of Council.
In regards to the proposed closure Eurobodalla Council’s facilities coordinator Paul Bladen said there was never a good time to close the pool, however the winter months typically had lower patronage.
“We know some swimmers will be disappointed by the closure but these are essential works that will ultimately improve the experience, from the moment they enter the building to the moment they jump in the pool,” he said.
“The timing will also assist in transitioning the management of the pool."