The architect of the long-awaited Bangalow Pool told Echonetdaily a ‘Catch 22’ that prevented Byron Shire Council approving a development on its own land had delayed approval of the pool’s DA by ‘years’.
After more than a decade of fundraising and at least two years since the plans were provided to council, the DA was approved last week, meaning the pool trust can now apply for federal and state funding.
Byron Shire Council has declined to set aside funds for the project, opting instead provide in-kind support in the form of council land.
But the project then needed to jump further hurdles, as state legislation prevents councils from approving DAs on their own land.
The Bangalow Pool Trust has been fundraising towards the long-held dream of a pool for the town for ‘ten years plus’ according to Bangalow-based architect Dominc Finlay Jones, who drew up the plans.
‘I became involved about three years ago. Bangalow Pool Trust had been doing a lot of fundraising. We did that design for them and the artists impression – and have been working on council to get approval ever since,’ he told Echonetdaily.
‘We took a while to get the design right. There’s a kind of planning Catch 22 where council can’t actually issue an approval for something on their own site. We had to get around that, which took a lot of discussions and negotiation,’ he added.
‘At the start of this year we got them to sign a form for us to submit a DA on their land, and then we were able to submit a lot of paperwork to get approved, which finally took about three to four months.’
$1.2 million needed
Mr Finlay Jones said the trust had raised about $300,000 in contributions over 10 years but there remained a shortfall of $1.5 million to fund the construction.
‘Council’s not in a position to stump up any of it,’ he said.
‘There’s a reluctance of council to own pools because they aren’t money spinners,’ he added.
But Mr Finlay Jones said that the trust can now apply for Regional Development grants and Sports & Gaming grants as ‘no one at a state or federal level would consider throwing money at it without the DA.’
The architect said he ‘wouldn’t dare venture a time-frame’ for the completion of the pool.
‘If a benefactor wanted to speed up the process, we’d be happy to name lane 8 after them, ‘ he joked.
‘Otherwise it would be up to the normal channels of grant applications and crossing fingers.’