$2m election promise for lake pool sinks without a trace
THERE'S confusion over why a $2 million election pledge to resurrect the Lismore Lake Pool has belly-flopped.
On Monday The Northern Star sighted a leaked draft media release bearing Page MP Kevin Hogan's letterhead and dated Wednesday, May 8, 2019, which announced three items for funding, including "$2 million for the restoration of the Lismore Lake Pool which has strong community support”.
"Work will include restoring the pool's surface and construction of secure fencing and supervisory staff amenities,” the media release said.
When The Northern Star contacted Mr Hogan he said he stood by Lismore City Council's decision about not revitalising the free recreational pool.
"I don't support funding programs that council don't support,” he said.
However, Mr Hogan declined to comment on why the council made that decision or how the draft of the media release, which also included funding for the Hannah Cabinet and Lismore airport, was leaked.
But a council spokesman denied federal funding for the once-popular pool, which closed after 40 years due to the facilities needing urgent repairs and updates, had been sought by the organisation.
"Lismore City Council never applied for a grant from the Federal Government in the past five years for Lismore Lake Pool,” he said.
Lismore identity Big Rob, who recently resigned as president of the Lismore Lake Pool Incorporated Committee, said he was "devastated” by the council's apparent rejection of funding.
"I'm shattered by this. I am so upset by what transpired I shut down all my social media pages and groups,” he said.
"Once council committed, we could have been open to apply for all the annual grants we could get which could cover the Lismore Lake Pool's costs.”
The council had allocated $450,000 to demolish the pool in the 2017-18 financial year, but this money was used to plug budget gaps in next year's draft budget.
In February 2018, council voted to demolish the pool, but the committee was given a chance to put forward a plan as it believed it could have it reopened for less than $500,000.
This is despite The Northern Star reporting in May 2018 that a report costed a proper restoration of the facility at $3.17m.
In September 2018, a staff report recommended the committee provide its proposal for the restoration of the pool by October 31, to give the council time to "properly review and consider the submission when formulating council's 2019/20 draft budget”.