Olympic Pool heating under investigation by Coffs Harbour City Council

The heating of Coffs Harbour’s outdoor 50m swimming pool is under investigation by Coffs Harbour City Council, to extend the pool’s use over winter. Photo: Emma Darbin.

 

INSTALLATION of a pool heating system at Coffs Harbour War Memorial Olympic Pool is being investigated by Coffs Harbour City Council, following discussion on the matter at Council’s ordinary meeting on Thursday 11 March.

Coffs Harbour Mayor Cr Denise Knight and Deputy Mayor Cr George Cecato moved a Notice of Motion at the meeting for Council to provide a report outlining the cost of installing the most cost effective pool heating system for the outdoor 50 metre pool at Coffs Harbour War Memorial Olympic Pool, and the total lifecycle costs associated with the system, including renewable energy.

“Providing year round swimming facilities not only benefits our ageing community but our swimming clubs,” Cr Knight and Cr Cecato said.

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“A number of neighbouring Local Government Authorities have recently, or are in the process of, heating their outdoor pools.”

Daniel Bannerman, who recently won the tender to operate professional coaching services out of the pool, spoke in support of the pool’s heating at the recent Council meeting.

“Over the last ten weeks operating from the facility it’s been brought to my attention that it’s very well utilised from the community,” Mr Bannerman said.

“Observing the indoor and outdoor pool of a morning and afternoon, it is quite full, and I have got concerns going forward with the winter-time program, being able to fit in all the squad participants, Learn to Swim, all the clients of the Olympic Pool.”

Mr Bannerman said Port Macquarie, Macksville, Kempsey and Ballina swimming pools had all recently been heated.

“We do have the biggest swimming club on the Mid North Coast, from Tweed Heads to Newcastle with over 180 swimmers,” Mr Bannerman said.

Mr Bannerman said local schools would be able to utilise the pool over winter if it was heated for their Swim Survival programs.

“It’s just trying to utilise the most pool space as possible all year round,” he said.

Mr Bannerman said he had received a quotation for heating the pool over winter for $180,000 to $200,000 to install the pool heating, with a running cost of $45,000 ongoing.

Steph Campbell, a local mother whose children utilise the pool, also spoke in favour of the pool’s heating and expressed her concerns over how the pool would accommodate all of its current users over winter.

“With Woopi and Sawtell pools closing during winter, I’m not quite sure how everyone’s going to fit,” Ms Campbell said.

“As a health professional, I’m aware of the benefits of aquafitness, we don’t have that kind of thing at the hospital at the moment.

“I just feel strongly that a community this big; we should have some facilities throughout the whole year.”

Ms Campbell also called on Council to ensure any future heating of the pool was undertaken sustainably through the use of solar panels etc.

Cr Sally Townley questioned whether users of the Olympic swimming pool may be interested in paying higher entry fees to help fund heating of the pool.

“I certainly wouldn’t mind, I think most people, if it was just a small increase, for such a great facility I don’t think it would be a problem,” Ms Campbell replied.

Cr Cecato said he would like to see a Council report undertaken on the matter.

“I would like to see how much would it cost us to run a heated pool, and hopefully we can support this very vibrant swimming community into using more of our facility,” Cr Cecato said.

The motion for Council to provide a report on the cost of installation of a cost effective heating system for the outdoor 50 metre pool and the lifecycle costs associated with the system was carried unanimously by all councillors.

 

By Emma DARBIN

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