Work is progressing on the Ballina Memorial Pool upgrade.
Work is progressing on the Ballina Memorial Pool upgrade. Ballina Shire Council

How much will you pay at new Ballina, Alstonville pools?

PROPOSED changes to public pool fees in Ballina and Alstonville will go on public exhibition in the coming months.

As the completion of major upgrades on both pools draws near, Ballina Shire Council has adopted a draft list of increased entry fees.

Under the draft plan, day entry fees would increase to $4.50 for children (from $4) and adults will pay $5.50 (rather than $5), while concession passes will remain at $4.50.

Full season passes will be $320 for children and concession (was $185 and $195 respectively), and $360 for adults (was $215).

Full season family passes (for two adults and two children, or one adult and three children) are $800, plus $100 for each additional child.

The council also plans to bring in a more affordable three month pass.

Ballina Shire Council general manager Paul Hickey said the improved amenities and longer season would offset the increased fees.

While Ballina pool would typically be open from September 15 to April 25, while Alstonville pool would operate from September 1 to May 15, both are expected to open in late July or August this year and close on May 31.

"It's a different, facility, it's a heated facility," Mr Hickey said.

The upgrades include the heating of the Ballina pool and improved heating at the Alstonville facility, children's wet play areas, dedicated training pools, improved picnic and barbecue facilities, shaded spectator areas, improved accessible amenities and additional lanes to bring the 50m pools to competitive swimming standards.

Mr Hickey said the draft fees were designed to benefit those who use the pools more than once a week and will be on public exhibition in May or June.

Ballina Memorial Swimming Club president Nicole Wagland feared the higher fees could scare some pool users away.

"We're keen to see it open but I think that will definitely affect our membership," Ms Wagland said.

"The ratepayers are paying for that."

Ms Wagland suggested the council could offer ratepayers a discount on entries, given the special rate inclusion incurred by the project.

She was hopeful the club would draw back strong numbers when the pool reopens.

"We have lost members who are competitive swimmers who have gone to other clubs," she said.

"They're driving 45 minutes or an hour ... so they can continue swimming because we haven't got a pool.

She said one of their trainers had been able to rent one lane at the Ross Lane swimming pool, but this had limited capacity and could not cater to their entire cohort.



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