Nambucca councillors and Macksville Marlins all awaiting one vital piece of budget information

HOPING, HOPING: Dianne Wall and Lyndel Sutton have been spearheaded the Heat our Macksville Pool campaign for the last eight years
HOPING, HOPING: Dianne Wall and Lyndel Sutton have been spearheaded the Heat our Macksville Pool campaign for the last eight years

After eight years building support and a near miss two years ago, frustration is starting to bubble over for those at the coalface of the Macksville Pool heating saga.

The last few weeks have been particularly infuriating as supporters sat through three council meetings that offered no clear decision about a pending grant application with a looming (Sept 27) deadline.

"Time and again over the years we are told the council cannot afford the ongoing costs of doing this," swimmer and Macksville Marlins registrar Lyndel Sutton.

"What we want is for the council to open their eyes to the ongoing potential of this rather than putting up road blocks.

"We have so many groups who say they would like to use the pool but the fact it is cold and closed for six months of the year is a problem - school groups, child care centres, physiotherapists, doctors and aged care providers ... all of them talk about the health benefits of swimming.

"We understand council's position but we are not being irresponsible - this would be a good thing in so many ways. We've gathered over 900 signatures in just a few weeks from supporters, including tourists, who would love this additional facility."

Marlins presidents Dianne Wall said the group had also looked into the possibility of grants for solar panels on the roof to offset electricity costs:

"We have been exploring so many ways to make this happen ... for us it is a win if we just see a submission sent in."

There is however one vital piece of information missing - the cost of the transformer upgrade that will be necessary to run the heat pumps ... this information can only be provided by Essential Energy, who have said it will take a few weeks and given a ball park quote of anywhere between $50,000 and $200,000.

Some of those weeks have already passed ...

The net ongoing costs are $70,000, which includes depreciation of the pumps and the pool blankets - this has to be weighed against other pressing items in the budget

Robert Hunt, Assistant GM Corporate Services

At their meeting last week Nambucca Shire councillors agonised over the impact on the budget of this unknown cost and voted to hold a special meeting to discuss the impact on Council's budget for heating of the Macksville Pool, hoping the magic numbers will arrive in time.

That meeting will be held next Tuesday, September 24, with another council meeting next Thursday and the submission deadline the following day.

Assistant General Manager Corporate Services, Robert Hunt, said if he doesn't get the figure in time and he puts $200,000 in the application it will be knocked back.

"We have spoken to the pool contractor and we know the net ongoing costs are $70,000, which includes depreciation of the pumps and the pool blankets. This has to be weighed against other pressing items in the budget," Mr Hunt said.

"It is a balancing act for the council ... if we go ahead with this grant application (and if it is successful), then that money has to be found from somewhere."

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