Council addresses pool speculation
BUNDABERG Regional Council has moved to allay fears the town could be left with only one pool within months.
Comments online over the weekend expressed concern Anzac Park Olympic Pool would be demolished by April without funds to replace it.
Hundreds of comments motivated a protest petition, and mayoral candidate Helen Blackburn called a media conference in front of the pool to say the community needed to be consulted about a closure.
But council strategic projects director Ben Artup said the pool would not be demolished without funding to replace it.
Mr Artup confirmed what he said in a presentation to Bundaberg Chamber of Commerce last month about the riverfront masterplan, which included a proposed waterpark as reported by the NewsMail.
He said the pool would close in the winter months and reopen in September as normal.
“Before any closure of Anzac Pool or redevelopment of the site occurs, (the) council will need to confirm the location and funding strategy for a replacement pool,” Mr Artup said.
“(The) council has to plan now given the likely scope of any redevelopment but nothing will go ahead without funding from the state or federal government.”
Mr Artup said the council wanted to build a Regional Aquatic Centre, understood to cost $45 million, in Bundaberg, but relied on state or federal government funding for it.
It had applied to the State Government for funding under the Building Our Regions scheme, but was waiting for a response.
On Facebook group Bundaberg: Remember When, Bundaberg swimmer John McKenzie published his concerns on Saturday.
There were more than 270 comments in response to his post as of Monday afternoon.
Mr McKenzie said he was “out of the loop” but had heard concerns from other swimmers the pool would be demolished before funding would be sought to replace it, and he had published them.
“I didn’t realise when I put it on Facebook that it would get this much airplay,” he said.
He had been concerned because of the pool’s heritage, but also because the only other public pool in Bundaberg is Norville Park Swimming Pool.
He said one pool was not enough to meet demand for local swimmers, particularly those who worked full-time.
The social media concerns reached Cr Blackburn, who said the community needed to be consulted when it came to projects such as Anzac Pool.
Cr Blackburn is the council’s sports and recreational spokeswoman, but she said it was locals who told her the pool was being demolished.
“The council is here to serve the community, and not to dictate to the community,” she said.
“It’s about the community and doing what it wants.”
Bundaberg RSL sub-branch president Joseph Ellul said it had been informed by the council of the proposed development of the riverfront masterplan.
Mr Ellul said the council planned to recognise the RSL, with a park dedicated to the RSL services.
There are three plaques in front of the riverside Anzac Pool which give insight into its history.
The foundation stone for the original memorial baths was laid by Ethel Campbell, from Durban, in 1923. It was laid to recognise those who fought in World War I.
Bundaberg Mayor Frederick Buss officially opened the pool in 1956, and Mayor Clifford Nielsen opened the building in 1971.