CESSNOCK NEEDS AND DESERVES A NEW POOL
I read with some interest Joel Fitzgibbon's column in last week's Advertiser about Cessnock Swimming Pool. It appears Joel is another who is determined to keep this antiquated, 1935 model facility.
Joel is correct in saying the pool is not perfect, but is blatantly incorrect in saying it needs an upgrade and more attractions. It needs a complete replacement.
When the pool opened in November 1935 I have no doubt it met all the compliances associated with competition swimming, but we are now well into the 21st century and Cessnock Pool is sadly out of date regarding competitive swimming, failing to meet the most basic standards of the sport.
Having a heritage-listed entrance does nothing to help swimmers. It is in possibly the worst location in town, right on the busiest intersection with next to no allocated parking.
Families attending club nights and carnivals often have to walk hundreds of metres with kids in tow as well as lugging all the gear for participating in their chosen sport.
Joel says we don't need 10 million dollars and he is right, we need much more than that to build a modern aquatic centre with an indoor competition pool to meet the needs of both recreational and competition swimmers for many years into the future.
It is shortsightedness to do a band-aid job on Cessnock Pool hoping it will keep the populace quiet. Cessnock needs and deserves a new facility to cater for a growing population and to enhance a great sport, but unfortunately Cessnock Council is happy to remain entrenched in the first half of last century with ideas regarding swimming.
As long as our Council has this line of thought towards swimming, the sport will not and cannot prosper. Swimming is a year-round sport yet our council fails to see this, having a pool that is shut down for six months of the year.
Cessnock Council needs to have a look at Port Macquarie Council and see its plan for swimming for the next 50 years. Their pool was opened 31 years after Cessnock's and has been declared dated and not meeting community needs. The report shows a commitment to press ahead with a new aquatic centre.
As much as we need a new, modern aquatic centre to give many in our area a decent opportunity to train and compete at higher than local levels, it won't happen as long as our civic leaders fail to recognise what is the obvious.
Phil Murray, Cessnock
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