A Consultant’s report to a recent meeting of the Burdekin Shire Council, which recommended that the Home Hill ‘Olympic’ Swimming Pool be halved in length to 25 metres drew a quick and mostly negative response from the local community after it appeared in the council agenda.
Those concerns were also picked up just as quickly by some of our elected representatives and it was the subject of discussions when the matter was raised at the February Home Hill Chamber of Commerce networking event.
The Burdekin Shire Council has quickly refuted concerns expressed amongst the Home Hill Community about the future of the Home Hill Swimming Pool after a consultant’s report was tabled at a meeting of the Council in February suggesting the halving of the length of the pool to 25 metres.
The minutes of the meeting reported the consultant’s comments, which indicated that “Given the significant repairs/improvements identified in the engineering audit of the facility, the long-term goal for the Home Hill Pool is the replacement of the existing 50.3 metre pool with a heated 25 metre pool”.
The report continued – “It is believed this is a preferable outcome for not only the facility, but for the overall provision of aquatic facilities in the Shire.
The significant costs associated with shortening the existing pool shell do not address other issues identified with the facility.
“Replacing the existing main pool with a modern 25 metre pool widens the variety of aquatic facilities in the Shire and is supported by the local swimming club”.
“However, given that this is a long-term goal, the outcomes of the engineering audit should be undertaken for the interim period of operations”.
Those outcomes included “testing of pool water in both pools must be carried out in accordance with the Queensland Health’s current ‘Water Quality Guidelines for Public Aquatic Facilities’ and to replace chipped and cracked floor and wall tiles and all of the pool shell construction joints needed resealing with a suitable mastic sealant”.
The Home Hill Pool’s future was also raised at a meeting of the Home Hill Chamber of Commerce later that same week, where Mayor Lyn McLaughlin and Cr Max Musumeci responded to concerns that had been raised on social media sites that day and were about to be raised by Chamber members.
It is understood that at least 75 comments had been broadcast on one site expressing concerns about the proposed shortening of the Home Hill Pool, prompting the two councillors to discuss the report before the chamber meeting.
Cr McLaughlin told the meeting that the Burdekin Shire had five swimming pools, with the Giru pool owned by Education Queensland. She said the Millaroo and Clare pools operated on a key system and there were risk concerns and repairs were needed.
The Chamber meeting was told the Home Hill Pool, which is 55 yards in length (50.3 metres) needs to be made a legal length for swimming records purposes.
Cr McLaughlin said the council would undertake community consultation before anything was done on the Home Hill Pool and she told the chamber that no councillors supported the recommendations.
They had repaired a pump at the Home Hill pool recently and the report had been sent back to the consultants.
Cr Musumeci also indicated that councillors had asked for parts of the consultant’s report to be removed and the Mayor said that no money had been allocated in their budget for the pools at all.
It is understood a meeting was also held in Millaroo in that same week to discuss concerns amongst the Upriver community about reports that the council intended to close the pool in the area.
Cr McLaughlin took to social media to clarify the council’s position in answer to the many reports being aired about the future of pools in the Shire.
She commented on the social media site – “Just a heads-up to address some concerns circulating on various social media sites about the future of the Home Hill Swimming Pool.
At its ordinary meeting yesterday (February 14), councillors DID NOT accept the recommendation from the consultant to, as a long-term plan, look to replace the existing 50.3m pool in Home Hill with a 25m pool.
Councillors have requested that the consultant revise the recommendation to ensure that, in the distant future, when it comes to time to replace the pool and indeed all other pools in the Shire, the new pool be designed to meet the needs of local residents”.