Call to end uncertainty over Carss Park Pool

End the uncertainty: Kogarah MP Chris Minns with Carss Park Pool supporters last week.
End the uncertainty: Kogarah MP Chris Minns with Carss Park Pool supporters last week.

Kogarah MP Chris Minns says the uncertainty over the future of the Carss Park pool must end.

Mr Minns told a meeting of supporters outside the closed pool last week that a survey by his office shows 99 per cent of residents want the pool rebuilt in its current location.

He called for an update on the feasibility studies on a future pool, adding that the studies are taking too long.

Sorry state: A recent photo of the Carss Park pool sent to the Leader last week.

Sorry state: A recent photo of the Carss Park pool sent to the Leader last week.

And last week, Georges River Councillor Sam Elmir called for an update on the Regional Aquatic Facility Site Suitability and Feasibility Study.

Speaking at the Assets and Infrastructure Committee meeting, Councillor Elmir called for a comprehensive report to be provided to the council in December, 2019 detailing the time-frames to complete all documentation, plans, DAs, tenders, community consultation and the business case to enable the development of the aquatic facility.

He also said that at all times the current Kogarah Memorial Pool site be considered as the priority location for the third aquatic facility in the local government area.

Mr Minns released the findings of a survey of Carss Park residents which showed 99 per cent favour keeping a pool on the existing site. Of the 157 responses, only one preferred relocating the pool, he said.

The pool was closed in July due to a structural failure.

"For more than a year, the community have had a very simple message - there must always be a public pool located at Carss Park," Mr Minns said.

"This is confirmed by my survey as well as the thousands of residents who have signed a petition opposing the pool's relocation or closure," he said.

To end the uncertainty, Mr Minns proposed a five-step plan that will ensure residents can get access to a new swimming pool as quickly as possible.

"Our community wants to see a decision to keep the pool at Carss Park.

"If Council wishes to build an aquatic centre on the site, then they should stage the development so that a working and safe public pool is built first. That way people can get back to swimming as soon as possible," Mr Minns said

Mr Minns' 5-Step Plan for Carss Park Pool:

1. Expedite the studies - Georges River Council is currently conducting site feasibilities which will be followed by the development of business plans. Council must immediately commit to an expedited timetable that will see these studies completed by early 2020.

2. Confirm the location - The Council needs to confirm that a new pool facility will be built on the existing site, bringing the uncertainty to an end.

3. Develop a staging plan - If the Council proceeds with a new aquatic centre on the site, then it should stage the development so that a public pool with appropriate facilities (change rooms, showers etc.) is built first.

4. Confirm the budget - If Council proceeds with an aquatic centre, it must confirm the details of the funding to build it. This includes securing the Commonwealth Government's allocation of $5 million, as well as appropriate NSW Government funds and any debt facilities the Council may require. The worst result for the community is a project that starts but gets delayed due to a failure to budget properly.

5. Build the new pool - The estimated time to build Stage 1 would be between six and 12 months. This would mean the people of Carss Park can get back to swimming as soon as possible.

Natalie Mort of the Rebuild Carss Park Pool Community Pool action group said to see the pool sitting empty was a travesty.

"As Kogarah War Memorial Pool at Carss Park fills with rainwater, the community calls for Georges River Council to finalise and release the Site Suitability and Feasibility Study, first called for by Blakehurst Ward Councillor Sam Elmir in April, 2018," Ms Mort said.

"It has been four months since Georges River Council permanently closed Kogarah War Memorial Pool on 23rd July 2019, citing polluted water leaking into Kogarah Bay as the reason.

"With summer just around the corner, the community is desperate for Georges River Council to make a decision to replace the existing asset and rebuild Carss Park Pool.

"Yet, instead of urgently completing the Site Suitability and Feasibility Study and releasing the geotechnical engineer's report, Georges River Council is creating further delays and incurring more costs by engaging external consultants to conduct a broader Regional Aquatic Facilities Study."

A Georges River Council spokesperson said, "To ensure our community's needs for aquatic facilities are fully considered, extensive research and consultation, conducted by Otium Planning Group (OPG), commenced in July 2019, involving internal and external stakeholder engagement."

The consultation is open until November 20 and can be viewed here

"This consultation included a resident telephone survey, aquatic facility user surveys (hardcopy and online), schools aquatic facility survey and stakeholder interviews, and an aquatic facility trend review and analysis," the spokesperson said.

"A draft Plan of Management for the Carss Park Sport and Recreation Precinct comprising Todd Park will be completed and publicly exhibited in 2020 with completion anticipated for August 2020.

"Council must follow due process to ensure that all legal obligations are met, which will include extensive community consultation and the preparation of the required business cases. This will ensure that all future decisions of Council are lawful.

"It is expected that a future aquatic facility will be located at a site which, guided by both the study and survey results, will provide maximum benefit to community members and generate adequate visitor numbers to ensure the facility is financially sustainable into the future."