The pool’s pump room, where the floor is constantly wet from leakage. BRUCE THOMAS
The pool’s pump room, where the floor is constantly wet from leakage. BRUCE THOMAS

City Olympic pool repairs to cost $2m

COFFS Harbour’s War Memorial Swimming Pool is in urgent need of $2 million worth of renovation.

The 50-metre Olympic pool, which has a serious leak, is losing estimated 100,000-120,000 litres of water a week, according to the pool’s lessees.

But any repair work is will not be able to start for at least 17 months.

Coffs Harbour City Council’s director of city services and acting general manager, Jason Gordon, said the pool was still functional but needed major work.

He said the leak was only one aspect of the problem and council was considering different ways of funding a major upgrade of the pool surface; swim gutters, pumps and filtration equipment.

"It is a war memorial pool, and the problems are not a lot different to a lot of pools of this age and condition," Mr Gordon said.

The council’s director of corporate services, Craig Milburn, said it was difficult to calculate how much was leaking from the post-war concrete pool, but the entire facility was using about 106 kilolitres a week, which was 5-6 per cent of the pool’s capacity.

This usage includes water used for toilets, showers, washing down and other purposes as well as water which evaporates, splashes and leaks out of the pool itself. There are two smaller pools as well as the Olympic pool.

Mr Milburn said about $2- million worth of work was required to stop the leak; put in new sides; filtration; balance tank, teaching kids pool and splash pool, while there was also a proposal to put in a new 25 metre heated pool to extend the use of the pool, which would cost an extra $1-1.5 million.

The pool’s lessees, pool manager Iain Jones and director Julie Hutchison said their water bills for the pool had increased dramatically in the three years they had been leasing the pool and they had to keep topping up the pool all the time.

They said their water bill was $9500 for the 2006-07 swimming season (Sep 1-May 31), which was a relatively dry year and $15,000 for the 2007-08 swimming season, which was a wet year, an increase of $6000 or 66 per cent.

Coffs Harbour Mayor Cr Keith Rhoades last month expressed enthusiasm for a major upgrade of the pool, using some of the $500 million in federal funding for councils, but work at Brelsford Park got the nod from council.

Yesterday the Mayor said the Brelsford Park plans would give a return for the maximum number of residents and ratepayers.

Mr Milburn said even if a pool upgrade was approved by councillors for the 2009-10 budget, it would be winter 2010 before a start.



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