20-year plan for Newcastle’s pools

A plan set to guide the next 20-years of Newcastle’s public pools has been unveiled.

Newcastle Council has put together the ‘Inland Pools Strategy 2043’ that sets out an investment plan for Newcastle’s network of public swimming pools to ensure they are fit for purpose in the long term, while noting more than $5 million has been spent upgrading and $2 million maintaining our public pools over the past five years.

The draft Strategy proposes the creation of an Inland Pools Reserve Fund to ensure that funding is set aside annually to enhance the City’s five public pools over the next 20 years. The investigation has also found that the condition of the public pools will enable them to continue to operate without replacement until at least 2043.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the draft Strategy considered current and future user needs, along with the existing conditions of the pools, to guide future investment.

“City of Newcastle’s public swimming pools attract more than 300,000 visitors every year. Independent research shows public satisfaction with our pools is more than 80%, making them just as popular as the Newcastle Art Gallery and Museum,

“The draft Inland Pools Strategy 2043 shows how our network of five swimming centres service the community in their own unique way and sets a strategic direction for each, including upgrading Wallsend Swimming Centre as our population in the western suburbs increases.”

The draft Strategy was top of the agenda amongst the Inland Pools Community Network, a newly formed group of passionate community representatives.

Representatives for Lambton, Wallsend, Mayfield, Stockton and Beresfield swimming centres in addition to a school representative and accessibility advocate were selected via an expressions of interest process to make up the Network.

Colin Irvine spends most days at Lambton Swimming Centre and said he is committed to actively contributing to the way the facilities are managed.

“These days I coach both swimming and water polo at Lambton Pool and am there most days. I can see the challenges faced by those running swimming pools from many perspectives,

“I have been a swimmer all my life and have spent a lot of time at Lambton Pool. In my younger years I was an elite level competitive swimmer and water polo player. As an athlete, a parent, a coach, a business owner, and as a frequent user, I have an appreciation for the challenges faced by local and state authorities in balancing competing community needs with scarce resources.”

Consultation will open on the draft Inland Pools Strategy 2043 following the Easter holidays.