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Newcastle residents invited to wade in on 20-year swimming pool plan

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Consultation is set to open on City of Newcastle’s (CN) tactical path to protect the region’s five public swimming pools over the next two decades.

The draft Inland Pools Strategy 2043, which focuses on the Lambton, Wallsend, Mayfield, Stockton and Beresfield swimming centres, will ensure they are fit for purpose in the long term.

It also proposes the creation of an Inland Pools Reserve Fund to guarantee funding is set aside annually to enhance the facilities over a 20-year period.

Already, more than $5 million has been spent upgrading, and $2 million maintaining, the public pools over the past five years.

And, from next week, CN will seek feedback from residents and key stakeholders, including a newly-formed Inland Pools Community Network, that sought nominations from members of the public who regularly use the complexes.

Locals like Colin Irvine.

He spends most days at Lambton Swimming Centre.

“I’m committed to actively contributing to the way the facilities are managed,” he said.

“These days I coach both swimming and water polo at Lambton.

“I can see the challenges faced by those running swimming pools from many perspectives.

“I’ve been a swimmer all my life and spent a lot of time at Lambton Pool.

“In my younger years, I was an elite level competitor and water polo player.

“As an athlete, a parent, a coach, a business owner and as a frequent user, I have an appreciation for the challenges faced by local and state authorities in balancing competing community needs with scarce resources.”

The draft strategy was recently top of the agenda among the Inland Pools Community Network, a newly-formed group of passionate community and school representatives, as well as an accessibility advocate.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the proposal considered current and future user needs, along with the existing conditions of the pools, to guide future investment. 

“Our swimming pools attract more than 300,000 visitors every year,” she explained.

“Independent research shows public satisfaction with our pools is more than 80%, making them just as popular as the Newcastle Art Gallery and Newcastle Museum.

“The draft Inland Pools Strategy 2043 shows how our network of five centres service the community in their own unique way and sets a strategic direction for each, including upgrading Wallsend Swimming Centre as our population in the western suburbs increases. 

“We’re now encouraging residents to have their say to help us shape how CN protects and invests in its five public pools.”

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