ABOVE: Elva Jones wets her toes in the middle learn-to-swim pool at Kyogle Memorial Pool. Photo: Susanna Freymark
Elva Jones loves swimming and used to be a swimming instructor.
For Kyogle Memorial Pool to lose the middle learn-to-swim pool in its upgrade to a Health and Well Being Hub is unthinkable to Ms Jones.
“The best way to frighten children learning to swim is to put them into deeper water,” she said.
The middle pool provides an opportunity for children learning to swim to “stand up, fall over and get up,” she said, and that can’t be done in the bigger pool.
The middle pool will be scrapped as part of a new entrance in the upgrade of Kyogle Pool. The new design features a gym, hydro pool, indoor heated pool and a large sports hall.
Kyogle Council general manager Graham Kennett met with Elva and talked her through the Health and Well Being Hub project for the pool.
“Elva has been teaching kids to swim in Kyogle for many years and is a valued regular pool user for whom the learn to swim pool is associated with decades of memories.” Mr Kennett said
So, we empathise with her sense of loss around the thought of losing this structure.
“However, the benefits of the proposed Health and Well Being Hub will by far outweigh the loss of this component of the Kyogle Memorial Swimming Pool centre and will serve our community for many decades to come, providing the same opportunities that the existing learn to swim pool provides, and many more.”
Swim teacher Joy Newman is not happy about losing the middle pool.
“Even if they replace it with the hydro pool, the hydro pool is going to be a lot smaller then the learn to swim pool is now. So we will have to contend with the public, people doing therapy, then trying to find a space for probably at least two learn to swim classes,” she said.
“When it’s hot and we have a lot of the public using that middle pool we find it hard enough to find space to do lessons now.”
After community consultation in 2018, three concept design options were presented, and all three designs included the removal of the existing medium sized learn to swim pool.
The preferred option selected by Kyogle Council progressed with a development application lodged and approved in mid-2019.
“Council called tenders for the first stage of what was proposed to be a three staged construction of the overall complex, but when tenders closed in October 2019, Council did not have a tender that could be accepted with the available budget,” Mr Kennett said.
Council then got a $4.5 million grant through the Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Package.