Lismore pool blows out to $8.75 million

By SAMANTHA TURNBULL

FINAL plans for the upgrade of Lismore's Memorial Baths have been approved at long last, despite a budget blowout of more than $1 million.

Lismore City councillors voted this week to go ahead with final plans for the upgrade at a total cost of $8.75 million.

That figure was $1.046 million over budget and more than double the original $3.7 million allocated to the project in May last year.

The blowout was attributed to an addition designed to take advantage of increased space along Market Street.

The upgrade was supposed to be finished by the end of this year but will now take until April, which means the pool will remain closed.

Mayor Merv King said he was disappointed about the delay.

"I wish it didn't have to take that long," he said.

"But there has always been agreement about the need for a new pool ? as each week goes past we are getting closer to realising that dream."

The project's most outspoken opponent, Cr Frank Swientek, said the entire approval process had been unbelievable.

"This is a tragedy ? no it's worse than that ? it's a travesty!" he said.

"It has been one big joke because at the end of the day Lismore will only have one venue when it could've had a pool in Goonellabah as well."

Cr Ros Irwin reluctantly voted in favour of the final plans, but suggested a review of how to prevent a similar saga from occurring again.

"We need to learn a lesson from this ... but at the end of the day this will be here for the next 50-70 years," she said.

"It needs to be as good as it can be and we have an obligation to make it as good as it can be."

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