Locals rally to save lake pool

Coordinator of the Save the Lismore Lake Swimming Pool Group, Vicki Findlay (front), with some of the many local parents and kids who will be joining her for the swim-in this Saturday. The group are trying to get an assurance from Council that the pool will remain open in the long term.

Fears that Lismore City Council plans to close the free Lismore Lake swimming pool have prompted locals to stage a swim-in this Saturday, February 25, to save the facility.

The swim-in has been organised by the Save the Lismore Lake Swimming Pool Group, which was established by North Lismore mother Vicki Findlay after Council failed to give a concrete assurance that the pool would remain open after the current swimming season.

An upcoming Council workshop on March 7 to discuss the pools future sparked this latest action, and the group has also started a petition, signed by more than 2000 people already, urging Council to make a long-term commitment to the pool.

A report contained in the Council business paper in November last year highlighted a number of repairs and upgrades that need to be made, which would cost around $500,000. The group believes Council is worried about the cost of keeping the pool open, but says it would be an even greater cost to the community if it closed.

We are concerned that Lismore Council is not consulting residents as to their views about the pool before making their decision theres no survey of who uses the pool, why they use the pool or how it would affect them if it shut. It appears Council is making the decision based on economic grounds rather than on its social value, Vicki said. We want Council to know how important the pool is to the community. It provides a place for people on low incomes to swim regularly, as many cannot afford the Memorial Baths, and it has a space where children aged two to 10 years can swim safely, which the Memorial Baths does not provide. For a lot of people the Lismore Lake pool is an important part of their life and is a place where families can mingle and meet one another. Its free, so everyone can afford to be there, and it doesnt discriminate.

However, Lismore mayor Merv King said the groups concerns were unwarranted, with the workshop looking at aquatic facilities generally and not just the Lismore Lake pool.

I certainly havent said it [the pool] will close and I would think Council would be keen to keep it open, Cr King said. We want to have this workshop to look at the operation of the pool and get an expert opinion on its condition. After the workshop well have more accurate figures on the costs associated with the pool the $500,000 mentioned last year was just an estimate.

Cr King said doing any community consultation would have been premature.

Councils always prepared to listen to citizens and ratepayers and were happy to hear what they have to say, but we have to find out the results of the workshop first, he said. Lets have the workshop and get some information and then Council may or may not have to make some decisions. No-one has suggested its going to close tomorrow.

The Save the Lismore Lake Swimming Pool Groups swim-in will be held at the pool this Saturday from 3pm, and the group urges as many families as possible to turn out and show their support.

For more information phone Vicki on 6622 0712.

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