Show of solidarity by Macksville community

Waiting for warmer waters in the Macksville Pool

It is not only the Macksville Marlins who are getting restless.

On Thursday night residents from many other pockets of the community showed up at the Nambucca Shire Council chambers in support of repeated requests for the Macksville pool to be heated.

Marlins coordinator, Lyndel Sutton, said it was now eight years since they began lobbying for heating.

"That is a long time but we are still at the bottom of the pile as far as the council's priorities go," Lyndel said.

"Two years ago we had an unsuccessful grant application and nothing has happened since - it is the council's pool, so there is nothing we can do without their support."

The catalyst for this latest push was a report to the council by Grants Office Teresa Boorer, with a list of priority projects for the shire's $835,776 share of the NSW Government's Stronger Country Communities Fund Round Three.

There were two projects recommended under the 'community infrastructure' category - and the Macksville pool was not one of them.

Speaking at the council meeting on behalf of the pool's supporters, Dianne Wall, said the project had been researched and quotes obtained and was absolutely shovel-ready.

"Two years ago I stood here and pleaded for heating of the pool - here I am again," Dianne said.

"The council has said it supports this project but we are still at the bottom of the list. This is the only council-owned pool in the valley and it is there for the benefit of the entire community."

Ms Wall then listed those benefits - from the learn-to-swim and the schools program, both of which helped save lives to the use of the facility by the aged and the handicapped for safe exercise.

"The community wants and needs this - I hope next time I stand here it is to say thank you."

The mayor Rhonda Hoban said ongoing operating costs were the biggest issue and asked whether Ms Wall believed there was a willingness to pay higher fees if the pool were heated.

Ms Wall said she would like to think if the pool season was longer, from September to May (an extra four months) then increased use would offset the extra costs.

Cr Janine Reed proposed an alternative motion requesting a further report into the grant application that included moving the heating of the Macksville Swimming Pool into 'Community Infrastructure' category as a high priority. This was passed unanimously.

After the meeting General Manager Michael Coulter said the report detail the potential operating costs.

"We need to get a handle on that - there are one million litres of water to heat. We'd need a pool blanket, and a heat pump, as well as a second lifeguard because there is no line of sight between the hydro therapy pool and the outdoor pool," he said.

He said the plan would be to heat the pool in the shoulder months of September/October and April/May, leaving the pool closed for maintenance between June and August.

"I imagine heating won't be necessary during the summer months."

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