Community anger puts halt to North Sydney council’s controversial plan
The North Sydney Council’s plan to close the Milsons Point Olympic Pool on New Year’s Eve has been hampered.
Upgrades to the pool, originally costed at $58 million, will shut it for two years.
North Sydney councillor MaryAnn Beregi, a vocal opponent of the redevelopment, told Luke Grant progress to delay the closure has been made following community consultation.
“We’ve gone for a bit of a compromise, which is that we don’t close the pool until the tenders have been signed.
“At this stage, the pool will remain open until February 22 … and hopefully some common sense will prevail.
North Sydney Council, however, say the closure date of January 31 “remains on track and the suggestion that progressing this project has been stopped … is false” (full statement below).
Ms Beregi labelled a $64 million budget blowout for the new swimming precinct “farcical”.
“This is nothing more than a vanity project.”
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Full statement from North Sydney Council General Manager Ken Gouldthorp:
“All of the construction companies are keen to take site possession and commence work from late January/very early February.
“Prior to then Council staff need 3-4 weeks to empty the pools, remove all fittings, furniture and equipment that will be reused and decommission the facility.
“If the pool was to be kept open, attendance numbers would need to remain significantly restricted and access/egress controlled.
“The current load limits on the concourse as recommended by independent structural engineers are as low as the equivalent of two adults per square metre on the concourse around the toddlers pool and up to a maximum of 3 adults per square meter on the southern and northern side of the concourse … adjacent to the 50 m pool.
“If Council amended its scheduled close time to April we would need to negotiate delayed commencement with construction contractors and it would result in the new facility not being available for the first half of the 2022 summer.
“Furthermore there would be high risk with any delay that we would … incur further delay and not [have] the facility open at all for the 2022 summer.
“On the above basis, Council has been working to a schedule involving the close of the pool at the end of this calendar year for at least the past 12 months.
“This remains on track and the suggestion that progressing this project has been stopped until February 2021 is false.”