CLEANING POOL: Pictured is a tractor cleaning sand from the existing children's pool at Shelly Beach in Ballina. A protest has been planned for a proposed larger ocean pool at the site.
CLEANING POOL: Pictured is a tractor cleaning sand from the existing children's pool at Shelly Beach in Ballina. A protest has been planned for a proposed larger ocean pool at the site.

Claims ocean pools ‘part of bygone era’, financial burden

A PROTEST opposing the proposal to build an ocean pool on the Shelly Beach rock platform in Ballina will be held on Saturday.

Local resident and spokeswoman for Ballina Coastcare which is behind the protest, Cathy Byrne, said ocean pools were "part of a bygone era".

"Shelly Beach has one of only two rock platforms in Ballina Shire where young children can interact with marine creatures in a natural space", she said.

"We should be protecting it.

"We already have the largest ocean pool in the country - Shaws Bay."

The Ballina Ocean Pool Committee is behind the proposal to build the pool, and the group has argued it would provide safe access to the ocean water for those who find it difficult to enter the surf and would be an alternative to the swimming pools for lap-swimmers.

While Ms Byrne conceded that ocean pools do have "their attractions", she argued that ocean pools like those in Newcastle and Sydney could no longer be built "due to environmental and safety requirements."

She said the proposed pool was "economically unwise" and said the Ballina Ocean Pool Committee's claim the pool would not cost ratepayers a cent is "misleading".

"Ratepayers will have to pay insurance and maintenance," she said.

"And we have recently spent nearly $20 million on new pools and existing swimming sites."

She said Australia's latest ocean pool was built at Yamba in 1969, but the Clarence Valley Council spent $530,000 on repairs in the past five years and had an annual cleaning budget of nearly $50,000.

"Councils are already under pressure to upgrade infrastructure, prepare for coastal retreat (with predicted rising sea levels), and improve facilities," she said.

Ballina Shire Council has endorsed the pool committee "on the basis that the ocean pool will be constructed through funding sources other than council, and the pool is to be designed to ensure that nil, or minimal maintenance, is required for the facility on an ongoing basis."

The protest against the ocean pool proposal will be held at Shelly Beach in Ballina on Saturday, February 1, at 8.30am.



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