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Minister hoping ‘common sense prevails’ over war memorial name

Article image for Minister hoping ‘common sense prevails’ over war memorial name

The Hills Shire Council has a battle on their hands over the stripping of a reference to ‘war memorial’ in the name of a new $55m pool.

Ministers are calling on the council to reconsider the decision to change the name of the war memorial Swimming Centre at Baulkham Hills.

However, the council is arguing that the full name is too much of a mouthful and everybody knows the centre as the Waves Fitness and Aquatic Centre.

NSW RSL President Ray James told Jim Wilson he feels “uncomfortable” with the decision.

“Why would you change the name, it’s called a war memorial for a reason.”

NSW Shadow Veterans Minister Greg Warren told Jim he is hoping “common sense can prevail”.

“One thing we don’t do is remove a commemoration … or something that has always been a symbolic representation that acknowledges the service of our men and woman to Australia.”

The Hills Shire Council’s General Manager, Michael Edgar’s full statement

The Hills Shire Council’s General Manager, Michael Edgar, said that people have known the pool as ‘Waves’ since 1996, and the name is instantly recognisable within the community.

“Feasibility studies began in 2017 and the project involved at least three stages of community consultation until the first sod was turned in August 2020. That consultation included the entire hills community, residents, councillors, local members of parliament and key user groups, and naming the complex ‘Waves’ has never been raised as an issue during that time.

“We are a Council that will always be grateful for the contribution of our service men and women. Our major war memorial at Centenary of ANZAC Reserve in Kellyville is highly valued by our community, and in June this year we opened the newly refurbished World War II Memorial at Balcombe Heights Estate in Baulkham Hills with our Mayor, the Federal Member for Mitchell Alex Hawke MP and members of the community.

“Historical reference will be incorporated into the new complex and the original opening plaque will be displayed. Council recognises the significance of the site and its history will always be part of the story.
“We are proud of this major $55 million project, fully funded by Council, that will deliver a magnificent swimming, fitness and leisure complex for everyone to enjoy, and we look forward to throwing the doors open in two weeks’ time at our Community Open Day on 3 September.”

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Image: The Hills District Historical Society collection