PM reaffirms $5 million for Carss Park pool refurb or rebuild - but only at current site

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has reaffirmed his $5million pledge towards the refurbishment or rebuilding of the Kogarah War Memorial Pool (Carss Park pool) - but only on its current site.

But in a letter to Georges River Council mayor, Kevin Greene, Mr Morrison said the funding will only be provided to repair or rebuild the pool in its current location.

"If council's decision is to relocate the pool elsewhere then this funding would not be provided as this would be considered to be a different project," Mr Morrison said in his letter to the mayor.

The pool was permanently closed by Georges River Council on July 23 after pipes were found to be leaking polluted water into Kogarah Bay.

The future of the pool was uncertain long before it was permanently closed with engineering assessments saying it had reached the serviceable life and should be demolished.

Georges River Council has said to replace the pool "like-for-like" would cost around $15 million.

In March Carss Park residents presented the council with a 10,700 signature petition calling to keep the Kogarah War Memorial Pool open.

In May, during the Federal election campaign, Mr Morrison committed $5 million towards the pool which is in his electorate of Cook.

At the time, he described the pool was an important community facility used by thousands of families.

He said the passion and commitment of the Save Carss Park Pool action team was a demonstration of the close ties the pool has to its heritage and the local community.

In his letter to the mayor, Mr Morrison said, "I understand Council have undertaken many expert studies regarding the current condition of the pool, and the financial cost to the community to keep it open, while seeking to make an informed decision about its future.

"The main sentiment expressed to both my office and the office of the Member for Banks, the Hon David Coleman MP, is that the structural condition of the pool needs addressing but what that consists of obviously remains to be completed.

"The common theme that both our offices have observed is that regardless of the final plans, the community want the pool to remain at its current location in Carss Park.

"During the Federal election my Government committed $5 million for the repair or rebuild of the pool at its current location.

"If Council's decision is to relocate the pool elsewhere then this funding would not be provided as this would be considered to be a different project."

Two reports concerning the future of the pool go next Monday night's council meeting.

These include the Structural Assessment off the pool by engineers Geoff Ninnes Fong and Partners.

And the council is expected to endorse its draft Open Space, Recreation and Community Facilities Strategy 2019-2036 which recognises the need for aquatic facilities are required to meet the needs of the community.

A council study will look at suitable locations for a third aquatic centre and will include, but not be limited to, Carss Park and Netstrata Jubilee Stadium.

Councillor Greene has said no decision has been made yet regarding the future of the facility and the site.

He has reaffirmed the council's policy of having three aquatic facilities within the local government area which now has only two following the closure of Carss Park pool.

This week Mr Morrison also wrote to supporters of the pool.

"I understand and share the community's disappointment with the pool's closure. However, as the Council has full responsibility for the pool, I will respect the evaluation and expert processes currently occurring and urge the Council to address the issues they have identified as soon as possible," he said.

"During the election my Government committed $5 million for the repair or rebuild of the pool at its current location. I know it is the community's preference to retain the pool at the current site and not relocate.

"We will await Council's plans for the pool after they have undertaken the necessary community consultations around their draft Open Space, Recreation and Community Facilities Strategy and an Aquatic Facilities Study."

Olympic gold medal swimmer Michelle Ford trained at the pool under legendary coach Dick Caine along with many other champions.

Ms Ford said the community at large is unanimous to keep the pool.

"Yet the Georges River Council still insists on more reports. What are their plans for this waterfront land? Why are they delaying this process?" she said.

"The Prime Minister of Australia, the Australian Sports Commission, and Swimming Australia have all pledged their financial backing to rebuild the pool - not to mention the incredible community support. What are we missing?

"The pool exists. It should have nothing to do in the 'planning' of new infrastructure.

"There is a council meeting on Monday at 7 pm, and we need to mobilise the community to attend and support the upgrade of the Carss Park pool

"This is not just a pool. It is a '50 metre' pool sitting on prime land that councils are slowly replacing with 25-metre pools, insisting that 50 metre pools are no longer viable.

"Moreover, the Carss Park pool carries a history of champions - a monument to the sport of swimming, triathlon, surf life, rugby and even Boxing. The photos on the wall, an inspiration to the youth and the community at large.

"The sport of swimming cannot afford to lose 50-metre local pools. Councils must work to protect our facilities and sporting heritage.

"I, along with this amazing community of St George area, am committed to ensuring that there is a future for the generations of aspiring swimmers and will continue to fight for the protection of these pools.

"Engineering and technological advances can give new life to these local pools, so I remain hopeful that this is not the end of the Carss park pool."

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