Gympie Regional Council CEO Ken Mason will have staff find a cheaper way to investigate the feasibility of a major new recreation facility for Gympie.
Gympie Regional Council CEO Ken Mason will have staff find a cheaper way to investigate the feasibility of a major new recreation facility for Gympie. Renee Pilcher

Cheaper pool solution sought

A MAJOR aquatic centre at Gympie Regional Council’s disused Tozer Street depot has run into cost troubles even before it starts.

Although few would doubt the project is feasible, something similar already being under way at the Rainbow Beach Sport and Recreation Club, council has now been advised a feasibility study – necessary for grant applications – could cost $30,000.

With rates bills out, and many property owners wondering how they can pay them, Cr Larry Friske asks the obvious question in financially tough times.

“How could it possibly cost $30,000 to decide if it is possible to build one?” he asked yesterday’s Gympie Regional Council Corporate Governance and Finance meeting.

“I suggest that these people will get a desktop study and send it to us. They’re making $29,000 profit. We should refer it back to senior staff to find a cheaper way.”

A staff report told councillors the depot site had been identified as a location for a new aquatic centre, to replace Gympie’s Memorial Park swimming pool, “which requires replacement at some time in the foreseeable future...

“However, to progress this matter further, a feasibility study is required in order to apply for major projects funding”.

The report said, “the feasibility study could cost up to $30,000 to develop”.

A major problem, as outlined in an associated financial report, is the cost of the feasibility study may in itself not be feasible, with no current budget provision.

Deputy Mayor Tony Perrett called for some progress on the proposal, first raised in this year’s budget discussions.

“At some stage, we have to move this forward. If we don’t have any planning, we’ll never get to the point of building it,” he said.

“It will require outside assistance and Memorial Pool is really starting to show its age. We really do need to start progressing this.”

Committee chairman Donna Neilson proposed the issue be deferred until next February, by which time councillors would know what was left in its special $40,000 budget for unanticipated projects, an amount usually kept for urgent workplace health and safety matters. Cr Friske suggested the matter be passed to council’s Sport and Recreation Committee for earlier consideration and recommendation to council.

The issue will be further considered at the next general meeting of council.

Gympie Times


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