Olympian Michelle Ford calls for release of Carss Park pool report

Release report: Michelle Ford (centre) and supporters inside Carss Park Pool including young swimmer Valentina, right. Picture: John Veage
Release report: Michelle Ford (centre) and supporters inside Carss Park Pool including young swimmer Valentina, right. Picture: John Veage

Olympian Michelle Ford has called on Georges River Council to release the two engineers reports on the condition of Kogarah War Memorial Pool at Carss Park so she can help secure promised funding for its future.

The future of the Carss Park pool was placed in doubt in June last year when a council report recommended its demolition at the end of the 2018-2019 swimming season.

The threat mobilised the community with residents presenting a 10,700 signature petition to the council in March which helped secure funding for the pool to reopen for the 2019-2020 summer swimming season.

The pool has gained support from the highest office in the land, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison promising $5 million towards its refurbishment.

"The passion and commitment by the Save Carss Park Pool action team is another demonstration of the close ties the pool has to its heritage and the local community," Mr Morrison said.

Georges River Council engaged leading aquatic engineering specialists Geoff Ninnes Fong and Partners earlier this year to assess the condition of the pool and the estimated costs or its repair or replacement.

Results were expected to be made public by mid-2019.

Michelle Ford trained at the pool under coach Dick Caine along with many other champions including Janelle Elford, Karen Phillips, Stacey Gartrell and Susie Maroney.

Ms Ford urged the council to say when the report will be released so that the scope of works required is known and funding can be sourced.

"The council has told us there is an engineers report going forward," she said. "The community should be aware that it is going forward and that it will be made public," she said.

"I understand that there was a previous report by engineers and that it put a question mark over the future of the pool.

"It would be good to see the first report as I believe no-one has seen it.

"I've been able to secure funding and support from the Federal Government and Sports Australia and they have said whatever it takes to keep the pool; that we have to protect our sporting heritage and infrastructure.

"I've also secured confirmation from Swimming Australia for their support and assistance in getting the pool back in order for future generations.

"All sides have told me whatever it takes they will assist.

"We need to know as soon as possible the scope of the works. Council needs to release the information so we know what funding is required.

"I'm assured we can get the funding to match the council.

"It is an amazing thing to have the support of the government and Sports Australia to back this.

"Council should own the project so we find the funds to match to ensure the future of the pool.

"We need councilllors to sign off and say let's go forward and rebuild Carss Park pool."

Ms Ford was supported in her call by Councillor Kathryn Landsberry whose Notice of Motion in March was able to secure ongoing funding to ensure the pool reopened for the 2019-2020 swimming season.

"The engineers report will show what needs to be done and the extent of the work required," Cr Landsberry said.

"We have to present Sports Australia with a plan of what we need to do. It is a project that will have to be done in stages," she said.

"The new report needs to be released so we can move forward with council's support.

"It is great that we have an advocate like Michelle. There is a community will that the pool continues for future generations."