The prospect of swimming in a shark-free ocean pool at Shelly Beach has moved a step closer after the engineering design brief for the Ballina Ocean Pool was sent out to a number of consultants recently.
The assessment will look at the coastal processes involved in the construction and operation of the pool, including the impacts of wave action on the pool, possible changes to sediment movement in the area, water quality inside the pool, wave overtopping behaviour and pool flushing.
Ballina Deputy Mayor and committee member Jeff Johnson said the purpose of the report is to ‘provide an understanding of the performance and behaviour of an ocean pool at Shelly Beach and the impact, if any, on the ocean processes nearby.’
‘This will help in the assessment of how well an ocean pool at Shelly Beach will work and will influence the final design chosen, Mr Johnson said.
‘The Ballina Ocean Pool Committee has been putting this brief together for some time now and it is the culmination of lots of preliminary research’, he added.
Other reports underway include an assessment of the marine ecology on the Shelly Beach rock shelf and whether the pool can provide an enhanced environment for the existing flora and fauna, said Cr Johnson.
These studies are being undertaken by Professor Peter Harrison and the Marine Ecology Department at Southern Cross University.
‘Our intention all along was to design an ocean pool that is interactive with the ocean and has minimal ongoing maintenance. Those two elements will form a key part in the final design,’ Cr Johnson said.
Local structural engineer and Ballina Ocean Pool Committee member, Peter Lucena has been working on the design brief in conjunction with internationally renowned coastal engineer, Doug Lord, who has been providing assistance on a voluntary basis. He’s an expert in his field and has also held senior government positions and been on numerous advisory panels.
‘It’s a real boost for our committee to have that expertise onboard to help ensure that the Ballina Ocean Pool becomes an example for other coastal communities to follow and something the Ballina community will not only use but can be immensely proud of,’ Cr Johnson said.