MINISTER for Local Government Paul Toole has toured the redevelopment of the Nowra Swimming Pool, seeing firsthand the Local Infrastructure Renewal Scheme (LIRS) in action.
Shoalhaven Council secured a $3 million low-interest loan in round one of the state government’s LIRS program, to help with the project, which includes a new nine-lane pool and recreational splash pad.
Joined by South Coast MP Shelley Hancock, Shoalhaven Mayor Joanna Gash and a number of Shoalhaven councillors and staff, Mr Toole was given an update on the $7 million upgrade.
Council’s project manager Gary George explained the project’s progress, with the laying the pool floor, with close to 275 cubic metres of concrete due in coming weeks.
The LIRS program provides councils with an interest subsidy for up to 10 years on loans to finance critical local infrastructure projects which they otherwise would not have been able to afford.
“This facility will provide the local community with a state of the art swimming centre that Nowra and surrounding districts can be truly proud of,” Mr Toole said.
While in the area, Mr Toole was asked about any possible extra funding to upgrade the amenities area at the pool.
He told council representatives that further funding may be available under round three of the scheme.
Council has also gained a $2 million loan to accelerate road upgrades in the area though round two of LIRS.
Mrs Hancock said she was pleased to show the minister the success of a LIRS project in the Shoalhaven.
“The project is proceeding at full steam,” she said.
“I congratulate the Mayor and Shoalhaven City Council on its tireless efforts in bringing this project from the drawing board to reality and look forward to the completion of the new pool.”
It is anticipated the pool will be open during the coming swim season, with the latest estimates being February 2015.
An official opening is being planned for April next year.
LABOR candidate for South Coast Fiona Phillips said Shoalhaven City Council would be embarrassed if something wasn’t done to upgrade the amenities and provide a community room as part of the new Nowra Pool upgrade.
“The original $3 million low interest loan from the NSW government was to go towards the full upgraded facility including amenities, community room, cafe, etc,” she said.
Despite concerns being raised by community members, Mrs Phillips said the issues had been “glossed over”.
“The current council, instigated by the Deputy Mayor, Cr [John] Wells, cut the council budget to save money,” Mrs Phillips said.
“Now the new state of the art nine-lane pool with heating, despite having a ramp for the disabled, will have no amenities for the disabled.
“The facility will also have no community room, so is virtually useless for any school, community or sporting group requiring a dry weather room to host carnivals or other bookings.
“The Mayor has glossed over concerns raised by community members and despite considerable savings made on the tender, there has been no progress with the amenities.”
She said community members from the Nowra Pool Advisory Committee were not invited to tour the facility with the Minister for Local Government Paul Toole on Tuesday.
“The Member for South Coast and four independent Team Gash councillors were able to inspect the progress, but had members of the advisory committee been allowed to attend they would have clearly voiced their concerns,” she said.
“At the end of the day, the Member for South Coast, the Liberal NSW Baird Government and Shoalhaven Councillors are going to be very embarrassed if they do not address the situation prior to the scheduled re-opening of the upgraded Nowra Pool in early 2015.”
IT’S funny how everyone becomes an expert when it comes to building projects.
Last week in the South Coast Register and on its website progress on the new Nowra Pool was updated.
The story attracted a number of comments when posted on its Facebook site including one about a picture of the construction site from the vantage point high up on the nearby water slides, that the shallow end of pool “looked too shallow” and “might not meet standards”.
Shoalhaven City Council’s project manager Gary George has allayed any fears, saying then pool and its depth are all FINA compliant and would allow for major carnivals to be staged.
“The shallow end of the pool will be 1.35 metres deep and will taper to the deeper end of 1.85m,” Mr George said.
“The pool will taper to the 1.85 depth earlier in the shallow end to allow for 30 metres for the water polo facility.
“It is always hard from photos to judge things and the profile of the pool is just taking shape. There is nothing really there to measure it off or put it into perspective.
“But the pool would meet all FINA requirements and be able to stage country or state championships.”