Swimmers fighting to keep a 50-metre pool in Batemans Bay donned their cossies and made a splash on Saturday at the first ‘Pack the Pool’ protest.
About 120 people crowded into half of Batemans Bay Swimming Pool on the morning of November 25 to demonstrate the argued shortfall of a 25-metre facility.
The event was held in response to Eurobodalla Shire Council’s draft concept plans for a recreational and arts precinct at Mackay Park, which include a year-round indoor 25-metre pool, leisure pool and hydrotherapy facility.
Organiser Andrew Belk said the protest was the first of several events planned to mobilise community support for a 50-metre pool.
“This is a once-in-a 50-year opportunity, this development,” Mr Belk said.
“We think it’s shortsighted not to have a deep conversation with the community about what exactly is going into the facility.”
Joining Mr Belk for the protest were ‘Fight for Batemans Bay’s 50m Pool’ campaigners Peter Coggan and Maureen Searson.
The campaigners said the turnout was a success.
“We had as many (swimmers) as we’re allowed in half the pool,” Mr Belk said.
“If this was only a 25-metre facility, not everyone would have been able to get into the lap pool.”
Ms Searson said it was essential to keep the campaign in the public spotlight.
“We wanted to send a message to council, to the local member Andrew Constance and to the community that 50-metre pool capacity is important to the community,” she said.
Eurobodalla resident Kellie Whittington was one of the dozens of people to pack the pool.
“I don’t want us to lose a 50-metre pool as a community,” Ms Whittington said.
“Why not implement a 50-metre pool into an indoor facility?
“As a family, we come to this pool just about every day when it’s open. I have a child that had a disability and I was told she wouldn’t walk; because of the pool, she can.”
At a meeting on November 17, Eurobodalla Mayor Liz Innes said a 50-metre pool was not off the table, but would need to be financially viable.
Speaking at the same meeting, Bega MP Andrew Constance said the option for a 50-metre pool had not been ruled out, but would be dependent on funding.
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