Upper Lachlan Shire Council (ULS) has approved a new $5 million swimming complex in Crookwell after the existing pool failed to meet current safety and environmental standards, while Goulburn’s indoor heated pool will also be closed for redevelopment.
Crookwell residents who campaigned for a new pool for more than 15 years have welcomed the news but wondered why the decision was not made sooner.
The 70-year-old outdoor pool is leaking into surrounding groundwater and potentially contaminating Kiamma Creek, according to Julie Simpson, a member of the ULS Swimming Pool Review Committee.
Consultants and the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) visited the pool and gave council a list of compliance issues, said Ms Simpson.
“We knew probably half of what they pointed out,” she said.
The 33-metre pool also needs a new filtration system, a new pump housed in a new pump station and a new automated chemical dosing and control system inside a new enclosure, a report to Council on 16 July showed.
The complex’s toddlers’ pool is also non-compliant with workplace health and safety and environmental standards, and requires the same fixes as the main pool as well as the replacement of tiles, according to the same council report.
Repairs to the existing pool – such as a pool sleeve to stop water from leaking – were considered by the council committee but would have only been a “band-aid” solution according to Ms Simpson.
“The EPA said we could put money into repairs, but the repair costs stand at about $1.2 million and there is no point spending that amount when we can replace the whole facility – with an indoor heated pool as well – for $4-5 million,” she said.
According to ULS, “the option to do nothing was not considered” because the pool would have been closed down based on its non-compliance.
The upgrade will include a 25-metre outdoor pool, a toddlers’ pool, a solar-heated indoor pool, and changing rooms, all with a warranty of 25 years.
Council is also considering relocating the visitor’s information centre and incorporating a cafe into the complex, although available funding so far stands at only $1.2 million for construction and $40,000 for design.
Residents such as David Carter campaigned for more than 15 years for a new pool that would be open year-round to Crookwell’s growing and ageing population, instead of only during summer.
In 2014, he joined former ULS councillor Jo Marshall’s push for an indoor heated pool and sporting complex in Crookwell. The project was knocked back by councillors, but that did not deter Mr Carter. In 2017, he formed the Get Heated campaign with another resident, Susan Reynolds.
Mr Carter and Ms Reynolds proved there is strong community support for a heated pool with their survey, which attracted more than 1300 signatures from mothers’ groups, schools, elderly members of the community and other groups in the shire.
Get Heated also lobbied for a hydrotherapy pool, however Ms Simpson, whose daughter has special needs, said she understood that was a “step too far” for council’s budget.
Upper Lachlan Shire Council general manager Colleen Worthy said the new complex does not “pretend to have all of the bells and whistles” but is “fiscally responsible”.
Laggan mother of three, Billie Willis Zouch, said her family is excited by the idea of diving into a heated pool only 10 minutes from their home..
“My husband is looking forward to doing fitness laps; my two eldest undertake squad training; and my youngest needs regular lessons,” she said. “Having a heated pool eight kilometres from home will be amazing with our busy schedules.”
Dave Dunn first noticed the benefits of a heated pool while recovering from touch football and dirt bike injuries. “I noticed many people in their 50s and 60s who looked fit, and it dawned on me that swimming is a form of exercise you can continue well into later life.
“Little kids did swimming lessons and older people did aqua aerobics. There was a coffee shop at the pool and it was a great community place to exercise and socialise.”
A design for the new Crookwell Swimming Pool complex will go to community consultation before construction commences.
Local residents will also soon be able to use the hydrotherapy pool at the redeveloped Goulburn Aquatic and Leisure Centre, after Goulburn Mulwaree Council brought the demolition of the indoor pool forward by three months while COVID-19 restrictions are in place.
There are plans for a new eight-lane indoor pool, refurbishment of the existing 25m indoor pool, a hydro-therapy pool, new changing rooms, gym and cafe.