Ten thousand voices unite to save Carss Park pool

Carss Park residents presented last night's meeting of Georges River Council with a 10,700 signature petition calling to keep the Kogarah War Memorial Pool open.

The gallery was packed with Carss Park residents, some wearing swimming goggles around their neck to show their support for the pool.

Councillors took note and unanimously supported ongoing funding to keep the pool operating for the 2019-20 swimming season, supporting a Notice of Motion by Cr Kathryn Landsberry.

Whether it is a reprieve or a stay of execution depends on the final version of the council's draft Open Plan Strategy, currently on exhibition until April 6, which considers several options for the site.

Swimming NSW chief executive officer Mark Heathcote spoke on the residents' behalf, strongly urging the council to allocate funding in the 2019/2020 budget to subsidise the ongoing costs of the pool until the draft strategy is finalised.

He expressed Swimming NSW's strong support for saving Kogarah War Memorial Pool for future generations.

"My organisation along with Swimming Australia are willing to provide as much support as we can to ensure the future of swimming at Carss Park is secured," Mr Heathcote said.

He evoked the history of the war memorial pool, established to remember those who died for the country, and as a training ground of champions.

"One of Swimming NSW's key aims is to protect our swimming history and Carss Park pool is an iconic facility that has produced World and Olympic champions including swimmers Michelle Ford and Janell Elford, marathon swimmer Suzie Maroney, and boxer Anthony Mundine," Mr Heathcote said.

"Many of its past champions still hold NSW records to this day.

"Swimming is a skill for life for all members of the community and it is extremely important that we safeguard existing 50-metre pools across the state for competition and training purposes.

"Swimming NSW strongly encourages the council to redevelop the existing Kogarah War Memorial Olympic Pool and replace it with a new 50-metre outdoor pool and a 25-metre indoor pool and a gym at the exiting Carss Park site."

Cr Landsberry's Notice of Motion called on the council allocate funding in the 2019/2020 Budget to subsidise the ongoing operational costs of Kogarah War Memorial Pool until such time as the future of the Pool has been determined by Council.

This would provide certainty to the Georges River community during finalisation of the draft OpenSpace, Recreation and Community Facilities Strategy and the independent engineering investigation into the structural condition of the Pool.

Operational losses at the Pool in the 2017/18 financial year totalled $650,000, according to information provided by the council.

Speaking in support of her Notice of Motion, Cr Landsberry said the pool was a very big part of many people's lives.

"It's somewhere where you catch up with mates, keep fit and have a sense of belonging," she said.

"I've been contacted by people from all over Australia who grew up there," she said.

"Yes, it's very tired and needs updating. This pool was built in the 1960s. If they could do it back in the 60s they can do it now.

We still have to honour the world and Olympic champions who came out of the pool."

Cr Katris supported her motion and said there have been rumours going around about the future of the pool including turning it into a car park and even an 18-storey commercial development which he described as "totally ludicrous".

"We do have the support of councillors and the overwhelming support of the community is to keep the open open.

"We need to commit funding in the 2019-2020 budget which is a foregone conclusion because there is a standing obligation."

Investigations are being undertaken by leading aquatic engineers into the condition of the pool and the estimated costs of repair or replacement.

Results of the investigations should be available by mid-2019, according to a statement by Georges River Council.

Following the investigations, the council will know the full extent of the structural deterioration of the pool and will be able to make an informed decision regarding the extent of repair or replacement works required and the cost associated with those works.

Labor candidate for Banks, Chris Gambian has said that a Shorten Federal Government would allocate $5million towards the upgrade of the Kogarah War Memorial Pool.

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