Council sinks iconic Lake Pool
IT WAS the end of an era as the axe fell on the iconic Lismore Lake Pool at Lismore City Council's Tuesday meeting.
After extensive debate, the council resolved to consider limited redevelopment of the site after it voted to close the pool and suspend demolition for one year.
Murmurs of "disappointing" and "shame" were heard from the public gallery while the implications of the vote sunk in after motions were moved, amended and re-amended.
An impassioned plea from Lismore Lake Pool Action Group representative John Taylor - filling in at short notice for spokesman Tony Beard - failed to sway councillors who were concerned about throwing good money after bad keeping the aging facility open.
The other key concern of councillors was that the free pool would negatively impact on the council's two other commercial pools - the Memorial Baths in Lismore and the Goonellabah Sports and Aquatic Centre.
The Northern Star reported on Tuesday the Goonellabah Sports and Aquatic Centre had cost the council $2.58 million, more than a third of council's loss of $6.9 million for the year.
The vote to close the pool got up 10 to one, with Vanessa Ekins opposing.
Cr Ekins argued passionately for the pool's social function saying it was the most cost-effective facility for lower socio-economic residents who could not afford the other commercial facilities in the stifling heat of a Lismore summer.
She insisted council had a responsibility to provide such social capital.
Several motions attempting to provide better access to the Memorial Baths and the Goonellabah centre resulted in a motion to provide more affordable access to just the Memorial Baths including a family pass for $64 from December 17-February 29.
While several councillors spoke fondly of their own idyllic childhoods at the pool, David Yarnall encapsulated council's mood when he said the days of the free pool were gone and councillors were trying to compensate for something that had passed its day.
He said free and easy spaces where people could indiscriminately drink, smoke and barbecue were too risky with occupational health and safety laws.
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