The Ballina Coastcare’s ocean pool opposition organisation say that Shelly Beach has one of only two rock platforms in the Shire where young children can interact with marine creatures.
The Ballina Coastcare’s Ocean Pool spokesperson Cathy Byrne says the shires already has one of the largest ocean pools in the country – Shaws Bay. ‘Let’s leave the beach rocks alone.’
Ms Byrne says that recently, the Shire has invested nearly $20 million in swimming sites. ‘We cannot afford another,’ she said. ‘Despite their attraction, ocean pools (like those in Newcastle and Sydney) can no longer be built, due to environmental and safety requirements. Most were built to employ returned soldiers during the Great Depression.
A fenced pool on Shelly Beach would be ‘horrible’
‘Back then, leaded petrol cars could park on the sand and pools did not require fences. A fenced pool on Shelly Beach would be horrible, for all beach goers.
Ms Byrne says new job creation should focus on renewable energy; bushland regeneration, fire management; public electric transport, food production and healthy outdoor spaces, not risky construction on a small strip of low lying beach basalt. ‘Damage to intertidal habitats of crabs, shell fish, insects, birds, fish, bait weed, cunjevoi, star-fish, anemone, and even distant mammals, is too risky.
‘Considering predicted sea-level rises, damage from storm surge tree stumps, fish kill cleaning, and lifeguard services, an ocean pool is economically unwise. Ratepayers will have to pay high insurance and maintenance costs.’
Yamba pool cost $530,000 in repairs
Ms Byrne says that Australia’s newest ocean pool, built by Clarence Council in Yamba in 1969, has cost $530,000 on repairs in the past five years and has an annual cleaning budget of nearly $50,000.
‘Some councils in NSW have had to remove live sharks and rotting whale carcasses from ocean pools. Many regularly clean out stingers, rays and rotting cunjevoi.
‘Councils are already under pressure to upgrade infrastructure, prepare for coastal retreat, and improve facilities. We need to protect the environment as well as ratepayers.
‘Ocean pool construction is part of a bygone era. Bulldozing the beach for a new pool is not ok.’
A protest against the ocean pool will be held at Shelly Beach on Saturday, February 1 at 8.30 am.