PROPOSED NEW SWIMMING POOL FOR WOOLGOOLGA
Woolgoolga’s new pool on the overall site zoned public recreation (community use).
The NBRA* acknowledges the significant grant of $3.85 million by Kevin Hogan. The pool upgrade will cost $7.7 million with funding matched by Council. The design of the new pool and environs for Woolgoolga has many additional facilities, including more swimming lanes. The new 25m pool is strongly supported, provided its placement is a better fit for the overall site zoned Public Recreation. Council has proposed to move the pool forward and develop the complex in the Ocean and Queen Street corner of the site, more or less hard up against the Ocean Street frontage.
Concerns with this idea include:
• The position on the overall site of the proposed pool in Council’s plans.
• The loss of green space for community use including Festival (eg Curryfest).
• The loss of green space and trees currently used as picnic area by locals and visitors; and
• The likely loss of public space given Council’s explicit ideas on the use of the southern part of the site bounded by Carrington, Market and Queen Streets.
Council planning has indicated that the southern half of the site could potentially be reconfigured for “possible community or commercial uses on the remaining land.” (Source: Council 23 May 2019). In other words it will no longer be public space! This overall site was set aside in the first Woolgoolga Town Plan in 1886 as a “Market Reserve” meaning Community Land. The block has been continuously used by the public since that time i.e. for 136 years. The “open nature” of the overall site with a substantial number of advanced trees adds significantly to the character and streetscape of the Woolgoolga Village. It is inconceivable that Council would consider reducing public open space land.
Woolgoolga is identified as being short of well located “open space” land for public recreation. The NBRA has put a suggestion to Council for the overall use of the site including the new Council design for the pool area (see Diagram 1 above – NBRA suggestion).
This suggestion respects the community use of the site and ensures the values and vision as stated in the Woolgoolga Town Centre Masterplan (WTCMP). “The Masterplan identifies that residents place high levels of value on the beach and open spaces and the sense of place it bestows on the town.” (Source: Council Oct 2020)
Diagram 1 - NBRA suggestion PROS of NBRA suggested plan:
• exactly the same “new pool” infrastructure
• larger green area within pool grounds for barbecues, large groups etc.
• open street facade maintained; established trees saved
• extra car parking
• public space maintained and enhanced – for use by festivals such as Curryfest
• it may prevent: “… the redevelopment of the swimming pool and basketball courts … If this was to be achieved, a development could be created for public sale to fund re-development of the northern section of the block for community uses.” (source: Council 23 May 2019) Reinforced by a council officer who states: “… the site of the Woolgoolga complex has a number of considerations to be worked through … The main one is to look at the precise location of the complex on the current site to allow for other possible community or commercial uses on the remaining land.” (source: Council 23 May 2019) CONS of the Council proposed location: • builds out / clutters the front street • builds out the Ambulance station
• destroys established trees current recreation area will be lost
• no long term or short term parking is addressed
• gives Council a window to rezone and develop the rear of the block leaving the community forever without this public realm.
Diagrams 2 and 3 indicate how the new pool has been pushed forward on the site.
The Masterplan states “... the reconfigured site could potentially accommodate: .... Mixed use development such as commercial, residential and/or seniors housing”. It continues: “This concept plan is subject to further detailed investigations, public/stakeholder consultation, a feasibility study and a preparation of a business plan.” Council has not done what it said it would do.
The community can rightly feel disenfranchised again through Council not discussing its plans or likely future intent to use community land contrary to community interests. The concept of the new pool is strongly supported but not on the new Council proposed pool site.
Ray Willing President NBRA Inc
*NBRA Inc is a community based organisation whose members are Woopi and Northern Beaches locals. We do our best to stimulate interest in our community. Any feedback about this article or any local matter can be sent by our Facebook site @NBRA2456 or by email to email@example.com We welcome new members.