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Byron Shire
April 22, 2021

Should Ballina go ahead with an ocean pool?

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Artist’s impression of Ballina’s ocean pool.

The proposed ocean pool at Ballina came under fire at last week’s Ballina Shire Council meeting when councillor Sharon Cadwallader moved to discontinue the application for the pool.

Councillor Cadwallader raised a number of concerns including maintenance costs, site suitability, Native Title and the impact on the flow of the Richmond River.

While a facility like an ocean pool would be a nice to have, apart from the environmental impacts, I believe it is an unaffordable luxury for the majority of shire ratepayers. With Ballina and Alstonville swimming pool upgrades costing $16m, with further upgrades continuing and the development of the sandy beaches on Shaws Bay, shire residents and visitors are enjoying much improved facilities,’ she told Echonetdaily.

‘Like a lot of people I got caught up in the hype of how wonderful it would be to have an ocean pool in our shire, until reality hit home. Council needs to live within its means and not run their communities into debt where the only way out is to raise rates to unaffordable levels.’


Councillor Jeff Johnson, who has championed the ocean pool, said he was disappointed that Cr Cadwallader had moved the motion particularly because she had voiced her support for the ocean pool at the last Council elections and promoted it on her flyers.

‘The Ballina Ocean Pool committee has been working through the planning reports at no cost to Council after receiving a NSW Government grant towards the reports. The points raised by councillors against the pool are not new and are being addressed as part of the planning process,’ he told Echonetdaily.

‘The idea that you can’t have an ocean pool in Ballina because the Richmond River floods periodically is ludicrous. Periodic maintenance would also be a fraction of the cost of other council managed infrastructure assets like the aquatic centres, sports centres, etc. Unlike our chlorine aquatic centres, local swimmers, families and visitors to Ballina will be able to swim in the ocean pool free of chemicals and at no cost. The ocean pool will provide a safe, ocean swimming experience for everyone.’

Councillor Johnson acknowledged that Native Title is an important issue, however, he said that ‘Native Title is part of the planning process for all activities and proposals in our community, particularly on Crown land. Regular discussions have been taking place since this project was first proposed approximately four years ago.’

The majority of Ballina Shire councillors voted to keep going with the ocean pool proposal and costings.

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  1. Forget all those trivial considerations, go ahead and build it. It’ll largely look after itself anyway with the ebb and flow of the tides. People, and tourists, are just not swimming anymore due to the ever present shark scare. Building a pool allows everyone to enjoy the benefits of swimming safely.

  2. Is it possible they could make it more of a commercial enterprise like Bondi Icebergs so that some income can be derived from leasing cafe space or another amenities?

  3. Build it please! But with diabled access so the myself and many others can once again enjoy a swim at the beach. It would be a real tourist magnet. Especially if promoted through the disability sector as an accessible ocean pool.

  4. Tourism in Ballina is very important for job numbers. Giving people a guaranteed safe place to swim on this beautiful beach, will increase tourism and job security for locals. Sometimes you have to invest money now, to see the flow on gain in the years to come.

  5. no way ! no pool on that beautiful rock shelf……!! Ballina council cant afford the maintenance either ! It stilll needs to be cleaned …so water pumps and all manor of infrastructure is needed along with the actual pool itself . Anyone who knows these pools knows they are still quite a bit of work to keep them clean and healthy . There we would need a huge shed for the tractor and gear….and toilets and change rooms……..CRAZY idea for Ballina .

    • You know theres already a building at this proposed site? With a shed.. toilets.. and change rooms… CRAZY it’s called the old life saving club. As for any cleaning most of it is done by the tide and sea snails, and for any other maintenance ? Oh NO it’d be a terrible idea to have more stable jobs in ballina!

  6. Right, all we need is an ice-cream seller who on the side sells tanning lotion. Who designed the pool, someone from the inner suburbs of Sydney or Melbourne with a degree in architecture?
    This pool is built as an indoor suburban house pool plonked near the ocean. It is a blot on the unpolluted vast idealic ocean scene. Did someone shift it from a high-rise building as it is for show and status.
    An ocean pool is situated in the tidal flow of the ocean and the tide cleans it at high tide, as ocean pools are maintenance free. They are usually made of rocks or a rock-looking substance as the idea of swimming in an ocean pool is to have it as a rock pool as that adds to it attractiveness to tourists in that it is of romance and romantic as if in Hawaii or on a South Pacific Island. You don’t have something that reminds of the bland and mediocre suburbs of a city.
    This concrete pool is for doing laps or for Olympic training. That is not the idea of an ocean pool

  7. Yes. Please build an ocean pool in Ballina. I would drive from Lismore to swim there with my family, and we would most likely have lunch and go shopping whilst we are there.

    I have a request for the shape and location:

    Could the shape have space for laps and space for kids to play with a shallow beach area along one side?

    Please disguise the cement with some natural rocks around the inside and out so that we can enjoy discovering the interesting wildlife that can call it home.

    Also, it could be built beside existing rocks near a headland which would provide shelter from strong winds and an existing structure for the pool to merge with so that it doesn’t look out of place or interfere with the ocean currents (like the byron main beach carpark unfortunately does)

    Thank you for considering this.

  8. Yes Ballina should have a beachside pool if people want to swim without worry I prefer a beachside pool to culling and drum lining sharks

  9. My family visit Ballina often as our daughter and her family live there,such a fabulous place to have a holiday with beautiful beaches and fabulous weather. however myself would not go in the ocean to cool down with a swim, the reason being a fear of sharks,and there have been a few fatalities over the last five years in Ballina and Lennox,To have an ocean pool would be fabulous also for smaller children,so much safer.

  10. Please build the ocean pool. It services the entire community…a safe water space in summer for families with young children, through to the elderly and everyone in between. Allows more people to enjoy the health benefits (mental and physical) of salt water swimming in fresh ocean air without tackling waves, rips, sandbanks, surfboards and boogie boards. Swimming and moving in the water are an exercise and the ocean pool allows this at all times. There never seems any backlash when a new oval is proposed for ball sports, that requires far more ongoing maintenance and far more costs to service, for only people who play or can play a ball sport! This would be a wonderful feather in Ballina’s bow and bring people from afar.

  11. It will fill with sand and need to be closed periodically for an excavator to dig out just like the existing one. Difference is size and cost. Other ocean pools have same problem and employ a team of cleaners with heavy machinery.

    It’s not just from floods, big swells will overtop the pool (I have pictures of the proposed site with well over 2m water on it) and deposit sand, debris etc. Sand moves by wind on the site and will be constantly blowing into the pool.

    If it’s a shark thing swim in Shaws Bay, council spent millions on it and it looks great. Or the newly refurbished pool and slides.

    Bad idea, poorly planned and thought out. Try another location.

  12. Ocean pools are precious things and this is being more and more recognised. It will be well-used and become well-loved. Many people are afraid to swim in the ocean now because of the more frequent shark visits, but this pool will be used by many and also by people who would normally use the other town chlorine-filled pools; people who love to swim laps but who so far prefer to be swimming in clean ocean water. Build it please…it will become a feather in Ballina’s cap!

  13. These pools are common features up and down NSW’s east coast and enjoyed by many wanting an ocean swim without the surf, currents, waves, blue bottles and worse. I hope it happens and is supported by locals.

  14. I have read all the comments & it seems the rock pool is well supported and desired. As we are seeing an increase in population due to epic, skennars head and Banyan Hill I think we need an alternative to the upgraded pools at Ballina and Alstonville and to enable people with disabilities to swim in ocean waters.
    Fully support the ocean pool for our future in Ballina Shire.

  15. I’m in full support of ocean pool, always will be & I am waiting as I haven’t been to the beach for along time. I have experienced 3times to being within a meter of sharks in our waters, no more surfing for me. But I would love to get in and swim laps at this pool. I’m not a fan of either Shaw’s bay or lake Ainsworth cause of the Algae etc. Just only recently had a swim at the Brighton St Inlet and was forced out by a shark there at waist deep!! We at Ballina rely on tourist & this pool would be the biggest attraction for Ballina. A no brainer! A must have!

  16. Please go ahead with the ocean baths in or around Ballina. I am amazed there isn’t one in northern NSW. Seriously many of us can’t or prefer not to be in a chlorinated pool.
    We are from the Newcastle region and my husband works often in Lismore. In Sept we will be renting for 3 weeks in Ballina (an income for the region) while Peter works in Lismore. I am reticent to go because I have nowhere to swim up there. Whereas we have the choice of 2 Ocean bathes in Newcastle as well as the Bogey Hole. If My husband went up for work on his own he’d stay in Lismore. Go figure.


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