Council commits to Boyne Tannum pool feasibility study
WITHIN eight weeks the Gladstone Regional Council will take the first steps to investigate how it can deliver what Boyne Island and Tannum Sands people have been begging for ten years for, a public pool.
The council agreed at yesterday's meeting to forge ahead with a feasibility study to determine the cost, business and concept plan for an aquatic recreational centre at the coastal towns.
Determined for the study to start as soon as possible, council chief executive Roslyn Baker recommended to call for an expression of interest for the study within eight weeks, putting to bed pleas from some for community consultation first.
"Community consultation will add to the amount of time before we could move forward with the business case," she said.
"We're not committing to a pool today, we're committing to a business case."
The discussion was started by father of three, councillor Kahn Goodluck's notice of motion declaring the Boyne Tannum community deserved more than a 25-metre pool.
Pointing to Gympie's $22 million aquatic recreation centre, Cr Goodluck said a similar facility at Tannum Sands would help attract tourists and new residents.
Cr Goodluck's original motion said the business case would cost $100,000, but it is estimated to be worth between $200,000 - $300,000 once it takes into consideration aquatic facilities throughout the region.
"There's no question in my mind that the Boyne Tannum community is united in their number one community project and it is a pool," Cr Goodluck told The Observer.
Once completed, the feasibility study will show options and costs of building the facility, from Cr Goodluck's plans of a recreational centre to a standard 25-metre pool.
Lodging his notice as an "ironclad" commitment for the region two years and two days after he was elected, Cr Goodluck said the Boyne Tannum pool was an issue he was determined to see through.
Tannum Sands woman Lynette Dahl, who attended yesterday's meeting, said it was crazy the coastal town did not have a public pool.
Ms Dahl, who tries to attend every council meeting, drives to Gladstone three times a week to use the John Dahl Pool for exercise with her sister and daughter.
But she said if Tannum Sands had a pool of its own, she would swim laps five days a week.
"There is so much more to be said about what a pool could do for Tannum Sands, especially since we're looking at making it a senior care hub," she said.
Cr Cindi Bush and Cr Rick Hansen worried about the cost of building and operating the pool.
"I attended the parks and leisure conference in Adelaide last year and (public pools) were one of the councils' major headaches all around Australia, to the point that New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria councils do not build public swimming pools any more," Ms Bush said.
Cr Bush recommended considering what the southern councils do, create incentives for private enterprises to build pools.
Options to fund the project discussed at yesterday's council meeting included using Gladstone Area Water Board dividends, worth about $4-6 million each year, lobbying the federal government during the next election and reaching out to Gladstone's major industries.