Pool study scorecard changes questioned

What's the score?: Elise Borg, right, with members of the Save Carss Park Pool Action Group has questioned the site suitability scorecard in the Draft Regional Aquatic Site Suitability and Feasibility Study. Picture: Chris Lane
What's the score?: Elise Borg, right, with members of the Save Carss Park Pool Action Group has questioned the site suitability scorecard in the Draft Regional Aquatic Site Suitability and Feasibility Study. Picture: Chris Lane

Save Carss Park Pool Action Group members are questioning why the scorecard used to assess the four locations for a new pool for the Aquatic Site Feasibility Study was changed after being endorsed by Georges River Council on December 16.

The site suitability scoreboard endorsed by councillors on December 16 gave Kogarah War Memorial Pool at Carss Park a total score of 91 and Todd Park a total score of 116, SCPPAG representative Elise Borg said.

The draft Study which is currently on exhibition gives the Carss Park Pool site a total score of 80 and the Todd Park 118.

"Questions need to be answered as to why a scorecard that was endorsed by councillors was then changed before being placed on public exhibition, without the knowledge of councillors," Ms Borg said.

She said she spoke to three councillors who were all unaware that the scorecard had changed.

"In addition to two new assessment criteria being added to the scorecard, the scores for Kogarah War Memorial Pool decreased for 11 out of the 14 criteria when the scores changed.

"The total score for Carss Park Pool as endorsed by councillors was 91, whereas the score reduced down to 80 when being placed on exhibition," she said.

"Why were two new criteria added to the scorecard?

"Serious questions need to be asked why the scorecard was changed from what was endorsed by councillors.

"This raises genuine credibility concerns over the objectivity of the Site Assessment Review.

"Georges River Council budgeted $1 million to produce this report and it seems like it is designed to produce a pre-defined outcome," Ms Borg said.

A council spokesperson said the report was presented to council on the understanding there would be further changes.

"The Georges River Draft Regional Aquatic Site Suitability and Feasibility Study (the Study) was presented to Council by consultants Otium Planning Group, at theCouncil meeting on Monday, December 16, 2019, with the understanding of the Councillors that it would be subject to further refinement prior to public exhibition," the spokesperson said.

"Please refer any further enquiries relating to the Study to Otium Planning Group."

Otium Planning Group director and project manager for the regional aquatic centre study, Mike King said criteria was added after the December 9 councillor workshop and the study updated on December 18.

"We presented a draft report to a councillor workshop on Monday, December 9 and following that there was a four-hour meeting and it was agreed we would go back and review and try and add more criteria to more definitive and try and make a clear assessment," Mr White said.

"Council requested us to go back and look at the criteria to try and add more factors in assist in assessing the criteria.

"We have used this assessment model in a large range of projects across Sydney, Melbourne, major metropolitan areas across Australia and in New Zealand.

"As part of that review we were asked to add in an executive summary of the study to make it easier for people to pull out the key facts.

"That process was agreed by the workshop forum and we were given an extra week and we delivered the updated report on December 18.

"Technically, that is the report that everyone should be reviewing now and adding their comments," he said.

SCPPAG added that the Otium report fails to account for community feedback.

Aquatic Facilities Surveys conducted October to November, 2019 included feedback from the community through surveys.

"An overwhelming 72 per cent of respondents were in favour of the redevelopment of Carss Park Pool for the LGA's future plans for aquatic facilities," Ms Borg said.

"Astonishingly, despite the extensive community consultation, the criteria which formed the basis of the location recommendations, completely excludes community feedback from the scorecard.

"The SCPPAG firmly believes that community consultation should be an integral factor when considering major community infrastructure decisions."