Leaking up to 25 kilolitres a day during the 2016/2017 season, the Braidwood Memorial Swimming Pool has been showing its age for some time.
Built in the early 1960s, the pool is a focal point of the community during summer, filled with children and families escaping the heat.
The needs of the pool were discussed at a community meeting in the Old Library on Wednesday night.
Over forty members of the Braidwood community gathered to discuss the council’s plans for the Braidwood Memorial Swimming Pool. Attendees were given a run through of completed works for the pool, future plans for the facility, and opening hours for this year.
The meeting was led by Daniel Fulton, Manager of Recreation and Culture for QPRC.
Braidwood and Captains Flat swimming pools received a shared $400,000 worth of funding from the Stronger Communities Fund, the bulk of which is intended for work on the Braidwood Memorial Swimming Pool.
QPRC attempted to augment with a dollar for dollar application to the Building Better Regions Fund. This application was not successful, Mr Fulton said, but the council has subsequently applied for $400-$800 thousand worth of funding through John Barilaro’s office’s ‘Resources for Regions Fund’.
With a grant application pending, the council undertook no major works during the 2017 season. The pool was plugged however, reducing leakage to approximately 5 kilolitres a day.
Council has committed to repairs to the tiling and plumbing in the next off-season. These repairs should give the pool a lifespan of 25-30 years, said Mr Fulton, at which point the needs of the community might have changed.
The cost to completely replace the Braidwood pool would be approximately $1.2 million. While it would be possible to gain state or federal funding for this, the running costs of a larger pool open year round would require a special rate variation, and be a burden on ratepayers, said Mr Fulton.
In response to a question about the possibility of relocating the pool to a flatter location, that would be cheaper to build on, Mr Fulton said that the additional costs of add-ons such as toilet facilities would negate any savings.
The Recreation and Culture Department also sees the potential to package works to the pool with the planned beautification of Ryrie Park, allowing for a more competitive tendering process, said Mr Fulton.
Council will be running its ‘Little Nippers’ program at Braidwood, Bungendore and Captains Flat this season. Classes will be available on Wednesday afternoons in Braidwood. A ten lesson pass will cost $155.
The Pool will be open for a 19 week season this year, opening on November 4 and closing March 18.
Operating hours will remain almost the same as the previous season, with the pool open from 12:00pm-7:30pm Monday to Sunday.
Early morning swimming will be available on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 6am-8am.
In recognition of the importance of the pool to the community, the Braidwood Community Bank intends to make a donation to the pool.
A steering committee has recently been created to establish the needs and opinions of the community.
More to come.