New Rockdale pool gets official go-ahead

17/07/2019 Posted by admin

Measured win: Residents had mixed emotions after Rockdale Council voted to go ahead with the new Rockdale City Aquatic Centre. Picture: Jane Dyson.ROCKDALE Council has ended the stalemate over the future of Bexley Pool, voting to enter into a $24 million fixed-price contract to build the Rockdale City Aquatic Centre.

It was a compromise over the initial price of $30 million.

The council also resolved to accept the $48 million offer to sell land in Chapel Street and will use these funds to build the new centre and other community facilities.

Mayor Shane O’Brien said: “As mayor I’m happy because this is something we promised,” he said.

“We’ve ticked off everything we said we would do and I think it’s been a great victory for the community.

“It’s been a humiliating back-down from the Liberals. It’s a shame we couldn’t get the whole project but we’ve come a long way.”

Cr Ron Bezic (Liberal) said he was happy with the result: “If it wasn’t for our actions in pausing the process over the past three months, the council would have embarked on building a $36-$40 million Dubai-type aquatic facility,” he said.

“We’ve copped a lot of flak but our only concern was in getting a better community outcome which was financially sound and balanced.”

‘‘Now there is more money for other areas of the city such as sporting fields and shopping centre upgrades,’’ Cr Bezic said.

Deputy mayor Liz Barlow (independent) said the decision to put a fixed price on the development was a step backwards.

‘‘The Liberals think they saved money but in the long term it will cost us more,’’ she said.

‘‘We’ve lost $1 million on technical drawings.

‘‘We’re not getting program pools [often used for learn-to-swim classes]; we’re getting second-best.

‘‘They (Liberal councillors) are taking the credit but it was people-power that forced them to vote for something.’’

Cr Bill Saravinovski (ALP) moved the motion for the $24 million fixed-price contract.

Rockdale Council resolved to accept the $48 million offer for the sale of the Chapel Street site after a split vote.

The four labor councillors joined with independent councillors Mark Hanna, Liz Barlow and James Macdonald to vote for the offer.

The six liberal councillors and independent Michael Nagi voted against the sale.

Labor councillor Bill Saravinovski abstained from the vote.

With a deadlock Mayor Shane O’Brien used his casting vote to proceed with the sale.

Residents’ mixedreaction to funding

ROCKDALE residents had mixed reactions to news that councillors had resolved to go ahead with the new Rockdale City Aquatic Centre, but with a fixed $24million price.

Rockdale Residents Unite conveyer Bernie Sharah is a passionate supporter of the pool but isn’t happy with the council’s decision.

‘‘I’m happy that we’ve made some progress but I do have grave concerns about the type of pool we’re going to get,’’ he said.

‘‘Going for the cheaper option means higher maintenance costs, which will be a drain for ratepayers.

‘‘The whole community has been disappointed with the role of some of the councillors. Because of that we’ve been forced into the position of having a bargain-basement pool.’’

Readers left differing views on the Leader website. Steve Painter said: ‘‘Cr Barlow is correct. This is second-best.

‘‘It will cost money in the long run.

‘‘The original proposal included facilities that would enable the pool to break even financially or make a small profit.

‘‘The scaled-down version will require regular subsidies.’’

Rockdale Local said: ‘‘It is reprehensible that there will be no programming pool, which means that the centre will not be able to cater for baby water-awareness and learn-to-swim classes. Nowadays in Australia, to not provide for such a facility is morally and ethically unsound and will do nothing to help to continue the current downward trend in drowning deaths in children.’’

However, Stop Whinging said: ‘‘Why is everyone whinging? The pool is getting built.’’

Are you pleased with the pool outcome?

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