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Byron Shire
March 21, 2023

Ballina pushes forward with ocean pool plan

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Cr Jeff Johnson is pushing for an ocean pool at Ballina. (file pic)
Cr Jeff Johnson is pushing for an ocean pool at Ballina. (file pic)

Ballina shire council will investigate grants, sponsorship and community partnerships to build an ocean pool.

Greens councilor Jeff Johnson is leading the charge to build the pool at Shelly Beach.

Cr Johnson said he had been approached by a number of people asking about the possibility of an ocean pool.

‘Preliminary discussions between council staff and crown lands have so far been positive and all indications are that it could one day become a reality,’ Cr Johnson said.

Cr Johnson told the final council meeting for the year that there were about 60 ocean pools in NSW, although one hadn’t been constructed since the 1970s.

‘While there are a number of swimming options available in Ballina including the river, Shaws Bay, the beaches and the public chlorinated pool, an ocean pool would be relatively inexpensive to build, particularly if the local companies that have offered to help come on board,’ he said

‘An ocean pool would provide a safe alternative to ocean swimming, be free to use all year round, and be a wonderful facility for both locals and visitors alike.’

Not all councilors were convinced.

Cr Sue Meehan said the motion was a ‘real slap in face to people’ opposing a rate rise to fix the swimming pools at Alstonville and Ballina.

‘ We’ve got Shaws Bay, and Lake Ainsworth is the most natural swimming pool around,’ she said.

Cr Sharon Cadwallader countered however that there was nothing wrong with looking to the future and continuing discussions’.

Cr Paul  Worth said he was in two minds about the idea.

‘There’s no funds. How can we get a grant when they won’t even give us a grant to fix the (coastguard) tower?

“It’s not an inexpensive thing to construct.

‘It’s a want not a need.’

Cr Ben Smith said he wasn’t against the idea, but ‘maybe another time’.

Ultimately, however, Cr Johnson’s motion was successful.

As a result, council staff will continue to investigate the costs associated with building an ocean pool, along with funding options.


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