Heated swimming pool open for comment

During the November meeting of the Yass Valley Council, the councillors voted to put a feasibility study from the Heated Swimming Pool Committee on display for public comment. 

The feasibility study explores several different options surrounding the notion of a heated pool either alongside or instead of the current Yass outdoor pool. 

Councillor Jasmin Jones said that the issue was one that could be delayed no longer by the council and is a matter of public safety. 

“I don’t think there’s any question that the community see the value in the health benefits [of a heated pool] for our community,” Cr Jones said. 

“The safety issues of kids learning how to swim; a heated pool enables swimming all year round for learn[ing] to swim.”

There are two primary options listed in the feasibility study, which are: 

  1. To demolish the existing pool and build an indoor heated swimming pool.
  2. Upgrade the existing outdoor pools. 

Cr Jones believes that the second option is an impermanent solution, and will not be able to accommodate the growth predicted by the Yass Valley Settlement Strategy. 

“The health standard of the pool is not up to scratch in terms of the circulation,” Cr Jones said. 

“We can make do for a few years,  but at some point we’re going to have to lift the standard of that pool. 

“Even if we spend a million dollars today on fixing the filtration, et cetera, to bring that element up, the structural integrity of that pool is something that we’re going to have to look at as well, and it still doesn’t make it a heated pool.” 

The price is expected to be the primary source of contention between the two primary options, as building an entirely new facility is expected to be highly expensive when compared to updating the current pool. 

The feasibility study estimates that a heated pool with all the considered amenities added would cost $11,403,949, while the indoor facility by itself would cost $10,187,499, as opposed to roughly one million dollars to upgrade the current pool. 

Cr Jones admitted that the cost was high, but said these figures “have a lot of contingency” built in.  

On of the plans suggested by the Heated Swimming Pool Committee includes designs for a 25 metre, six to eight lane indoor pool, which could also include a gym, hydrotherapy pool, and an outdoor splash pad. 

However, this design would also require the current swimming pool to be demolished in order to compensate for the additional space required. 

The other factor that is being taken into account is the operating costs, which are expected to be significantly more expensive with an indoor pool. 

The current facility operates at a loss of $87,753, while an indoor pool with all the aforementioned amenities would operate at a net loss of around $390,000. 

Cr Jones said this would likely be the state of affairs until Yass Valley’s population grew in tandem with the estimates in the settlement strategy. 

“Knowing that we’re going to grow our community, I’m fairly confident that a heated pool should be on the horizon for our community,” she said. 

“It’ll probably always run at a loss, until we have that population right up at things like 30,000 here at Yass Valley.” 

The feasibility study will be open for comment until 5:00pm Wednesday January 31, 2018.