Design work begins on recreation centre

Lismore City councillor David Tomlinson has predicted a new pool at Goonellabah will either be poorly patronised or will cannibalise the other seven pools in the local area some of which are privately-run businesses.

We should not do that to private enterprise, he said at last weeks Council meeting. All our pools are currently under-utilised. I think its madness.

He said Council needed to spend $130 million bringing its infrastructure up to scratch and to spend money on a pool at Goonellabah was similar to buying a flashy red sports car when the house is being eaten by termites.

If we start to use all our funds on building a pool we dont need, well have to increase rates and cut down on our capital works, he warned.

Cr Tomlinson also predicted the free Lismore Lake Pool in South Lismore would close as a result of the new pool at the Goonellabah Recreation and Leisure Centre.

Thats going to impact on a lot of disadvantaged people, he said. Even if entry only costs $2, if youve got a few kids that will have an impact.

Cr Tomlinsons motion to scrap the water element from the Goonellabah Recreation and Leisure Centre failed to find a seconder.

Meanwhile, Cr Frank Swientek objected to the pool because he felt the proposed size of 600m2 (which is roughly equivalent to an eight-lane, 25m pool) was not big enough for Goonellabah.

He wanted an Olympic-sized 1000m2 pool instead, but his motion also failed to find a seconder. However, mayor Merv King moved an amendment to change the wording to at least 600m2 which would allow the size to be increased at a later date.

There was also debate about the number of multi-purpose courts that were required but in the end Council decided to stick with two, as per staff recommendations. Cr Brian Henry moved an amendment that the centre be designed so the courts and other elements of the centre can be expanded in the future.

Design meetings have been taking place this week for the Goonellabah Recreation and Leisure Centre, which is expected to cost between $10 and $11 million.

The two-storey facility will be located on vacant land opposite Goonellabah Village with a gym and aerobics area upstairs, and the pool and indoor courts on the ground level along with a separate youth activity space.

It is still undecided whether or not the management of the upstairs gym will be contracted out to private enterprise. Entry to the pool is expected to be subsidised to ensure it is affordable and is likely to be in the vicinity of $2 to $3.

Although the pool is predominantly intended for leisure use, learn-to-swim and lap swimmers will be catered for with four dedicated lanes.

The facility will also include a caf with indoor and outdoor seating as well as a skate park outside.

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