Swimming free by next summer
LISMORE’S defunct Lake Pool may make a comeback next summer after council staff announced they would recommend it reopen at next week’s council meeting.
Lismore City Council deputy mayor Isaac Smith yesterday said the recommendation would accompany a rethink on the controversial pricing structure for the Memorial Baths, which could see the cost of season tickets slashed by up to 38 per cent.
Both issues will be put to a formal vote next week.
However, Cr Smith said councillors at a workshop on Tuesday night had given the ideas a warm reception.
The council closed the popular free Lake Pool recently amid claims it had become too degraded to use and would cost too much to repair.
However, Cr Smith yesterday said new advice from staff suggested the pool, while looking ‘shabby’, was sound in its fundamentals.
“The biggest issues are in the pump,” he said. “The pool, while it doesn’t look flash, is pretty good.”
Councillors were told the cost of ripping up the pool would come in somewherebetween $150,000 and $200,000, while keeping it open over summer would cost the council about $30,000.
However, the pool’s reopening, if councillors vote for it, would be a stay of execution. Cr Smith said the idea would be to keep the pool running until something major went wrong with it.
“We should keep it openuntil it pops,” he said.
The closure of the Lake Pool triggered strong protests from the Lismore community and its reopening appears set to be met with an equal level of enthusiasm.
Cr Smith posted the plan on his Facebook page during Tuesday’s workshop and had positive comments flowing in within 15 minutes – before discussion had even finished.
As the council moved to reopen the Lake Pool, it wouldalso make the Memorial Baths more competitive by slashing entry prices to bring them closer to fees charged by pools elsewhere in the region.
If backed by councillors at next week’s meeting, that would mean cuts of up to 38pc to the cost of season tickets, bringing them down from around $740 to $450.
Cr Smith conceded that price still left the baths as the Northern Rivers’ most expensive public pool, ‘but it’s a better pool, so it’s justified’.
EDITORIAL, PAGE 12