Aquatic Site Study information sessions "undemocratic", residents claim

Carss Park Pool supporters made their feelings known Georges River Council Australia Day event. Picture: Chris Lane
Carss Park Pool supporters made their feelings known Georges River Council Australia Day event. Picture: Chris Lane

Residents have criticised Georges River Council's decision to limit the number of people who can attend the information sessions on its the Draft Georges River Regional Aquatic Site Suitability and Feasibility Study.

Consultants Otium Planning Group will host four community information sessions at the Marana Auditorium in Hurstville in February 2020, to present an overview of the study which compares possible sites for a new aquatic centre at the now closed Kogarah War Memorial Pool at Carss Park; Todd Park, Blakehurst; and at Jubilee Stadium, Kogarah.

But residents described the decision to limit the number of people who attend each information session to 40 as "undemocratic", particularly as the Marana Hall can hold 1500 people.

Georges River Council believes the number is "adequate for the consultation".

Peter Mahoney said the council needs to allow as many residents as possible into the sessions.

"Why specify a number at all as that will deter people from even registering?" Mr Mahoney said. "It's unfair and undemocratic the 10,000 plus petitioners (calling for the Carss Park pool to be rebuilt).

Mr Mahoney said the council had told him the consultants had requested the lower number.

"The consultants shouldn't be determining the number of invitees," Mr Mahoney said. "All such sessions I have attended in the past have ranged from 60 to 100 people."

A Georges River Council spokesperson said that the specified size limit of 40 people per workshop has been arranged to enable consultants to facilitate four groups of 10 following a presentation.

"The size limit has been designed to ensure all participants have ample opportunity to share feedback during the information sessions," the spokesperson said.

"Georges River Council encourages residents to attend an information session and believes that the arrangement to accommodate a total of 160 people is adequate for the consultation."

Elise Borg of the Save Carss Park Pool Action Group asked if the results of the Aquatic Facilities Surveys have informed the site assessment review.

She had been told by the council that the study did not take into account the results of the community surveys.

She was told in a letter from council that the site assessment review "has not been informed by the various survey responses as it is presented as a technical assessment based on aquatic leisure industry related site success selection criteria".

Ms Borg said 72 per cent of respondents to the surveys were in favour of the Carss Park pool being rebuilt.

"I'm astounded that Council openly acknowledges that they have ignored the community feedback and that the results from the aquatic facilities surveys were not a factor in the location recommendations," she said.

"Council have acknowledged that the community feedback received via the surveys does not factor into the location recommendation, ye they are now going to spend even more money with the consultants to run four information sessions.

"You have to wonder why they are bothering when they admit the community feedback does not factor."

The council spokesperson said insights received throughout various community consultation phases, including aquatic facilities surveys completed in 2019, feedback on the Study and the information workshops, will be considered in preparing the final draft of the Georges River Regional Aquatic Site Suitability and Feasibility Study.

The presentation will be recorded and made available for public viewing on the council's website.

Community information sessions:

Wednesday 12 February 2020: 1.30pm

Wednesday 12 February 2020: 7.00pm

Thursday 13 February 2020: 10.00am

Thursday 13 February 2020: 7.00pm

Community members can register to attend a session and share feedback online at