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Mayor Disappointed Over Pool Rumours

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Residents supporting Wondai Pool at the public consultation meeting in Coronation Park last Monday (Photo: Facebook)

South Burnett Mayor Keith Campbell (Photo: SBRC)

May 29, 2018

Rumours that Council plans to close Wondai Swimming Pool have disappointed South Burnett Mayor Keith Campbell.

On Tuesday, the Mayor said Facebook posts about the future of the pool had led to a lot of unnecessary upset in the town.

“We have never announced any intention to close Wondai Pool or any other pool,” the Mayor said.

“What our new Sport and Recreation Infrastructure Plan proposes is we start collecting data on pool usage, pool running costs and likely future maintenance costs.

“We don’t have a lot of this information at the moment, and Council needs it to sensibly manage our pools in the future.”

The Mayor said this aim was clearly stated in the Draft Plan, which is attempting to come up with a long-term system to manage the region’s public sporting and recreation assets.

A public consultation meeting held at Wondai’s Coronation Park last week drew the largest attendance of six scheduled feedback meetings.

An estimated crowd of about 50 turned up with several people  carrying placards demanding Wondai Pool be saved.

The Mayor said he was sorry so many people had been misled.

“Wondai Pool runs many activities for the community and it’s very well used, so I understand why so many residents feel strongly about it,” he said.

Mayor Campbell said the public consultation meetings had run fairly smoothly.

As well as Wondai, meetings were held in Blackbutt, Nanango, Kingaroy, Proston and Murgon.

Mayor Campbell said no residents turned up at the Murgon meeting.

Opinions collected at the meetings – and the feedback forms submitted to the Council – will now be passed on to the consultant who wrote the first draft report.

This will be used to draw up a second draft which would then be put out to a second round of public consultations.

After this, councillors would assess and, if necessary, amend the completed plan before it was finally adopted.

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One Response to Mayor Disappointed Over Pool Rumours

  1. Bill McIntyre

    The Mayor gave an interview on ABC radio where he stated that he could not guarantee future funding for the Wondai pool. He only has himself to blame for starting the so-called rumour. I’m not sure how he expected people to react when they heard that from the Mayor’s own mouth.

    * * *

    Editor’s note: South Burnett Online has not been able to verify or disprove this. Mayor Campbell tells us he only spoke on the radio in general terms about all South Burnett pools.

    However, this is what the Draft Plan states, which we believe would be enough for residents to read “between the lines”:

    “Council needs to undertake structural investigations of the swimming pools to determine: the condition of these assets, whether extension of the life of the assets is possible (and the costs involved), the cost to replace the pools when they reach the end of their asset lives and the ongoing maintenance costs year-on-year. This factual information will provide the basis for an informed conversation with the community regarding the level of service Council can afford to provide within existing budget constraints. Alternate methods to provide community access to pools (eg. community bus) should also be investigated.”

    And later: “Priority actions. Council-wide – Commission a structural investigation of the public swimming pools in Kingaroy, Murgon and Wondai to identify the remaining life of the assets and options for extension of the asset lives, to enable a conversation with the community regarding long-term replacement.”

    And: “In the next 3-5 years Council needs to investigate the feasibility of replacing its public pools in Kingaroy, Nanango, Murgon and Wondai in consultation with the community and with a clear picture of the probable capital cost of replacement and ongoing operations year-on-year.”

    In the Wondai snapshot: “Wondai’s swimming pool is ageing and further investigation is required to provide Council with information on which to base the future of this facility, particularly given the close proximity of the Murgon swimming pool.”

    And later: “While the Wondai Swimming Pool is ageing, it remains a valued recreation location for residents, and current management has an impressive range of programs activating the facility. With the Murgon facility only 10 minutes away, Council needs to commence detailed analysis of the cost versus benefit of replacement of this facility in the medium-long term future.”

    And: “Undertake a structural investigation of Council owned public swimming pools (‘pool proper’) in Kingaroy, Nanango, Murgon and Wondai to gather factual information on the current asset condition, remaining life and potential remedial work that can be undertaken to extend the life of assets in the short-medium term. Use the report to assist the community understand the problems, alternatives, opportunities and/or solutions. Use the report as evidence-based information to guide Council decision making.”

    And: “Within the life of this Plan, three of Council’s four public swimming pools will be at the end of their useful asset lives. In the next 3-5 years Council needs to investigate the feasibility of replacing its public pools in Kingaroy, Nanango, Murgon and Wondai in consultation with the community and with a clear picture of the probable capital cost of replacement and ongoing operations year-on-year, and how these costs will impact rates.”

    And: “Implement an accurate method to record the number of visits to the Wondai Swimming Pool to inform annual operational and service reviews.”

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