Evans Head to get $3.6m pool

By Jamie Brown jamie.brown@northernstar.com.au RICHMOND Valley Council is pushing ahead with plans to build an indoor pool at Evans Head, despite costs blowing out to more than $3.6 million.

At its last monthly meeting the council agreed to move forward with plans to build a 25m eight-lane indoor heated pool with a staged development.

The end product would comprise a family-friendly aquatic park-like venue with year-round appeal.

Evans Head pool committee spokesman Trevor Mallett is pleased.

"We are happy with the way the project is moving. Council's support now allows us to move forward and finalise arrangement," Mr Mallett said.

"This council already has three pools Casino, Coraki and Woodburn which are only used for a few months each year. We want something which can be used year-round."

However, the council's estimate of total cost is about $3.68 million, up from a predicted $2.88 million one year ago. And council manager for strategic planning Ray Medhurst said the figures are accurate, based on recent costings by the council's hired quantity surveyors.

To fund this project the Evans Head Pool Committee has raised funds from within the community. To date it totals $240,000 in cash and $36,000 in in-kind labour.

The fundraising effort will now only cover design costs. However, Mr Mallett and others on the committee have been instrumental in gathering a further $200,000 in State funding and look likely to snare at least double that amount from the Federal Government.

Rate rises over the next few years will contribute $1.34 million provided further increases are approved.

Already $400,000 has gone towards the project from this year's rate rise, with $230,000 going towards planning and the rest banked for later use in construction.

A best-case funding scenario puts the council's contribution at $509,000 with the rest being met through grants and other contributions. A worst-case scenario, however, puts council's bill at $2.25 million.

Mr Mallett said costs should drop further provided a successful tenderer can use the promised in-kind labour donations and offers of volunteer landscaping.

He said the costings reflect the council's desire not to be 'caught out' with its budget predictions. But he said they also reflect true pricing.

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