Trust frustrated over Bangalow pool delay

THEY’VE raised more than $260,000, have a government grant for $80,000, in-kind contributions of $300,000 and a business plan, but the Bangalow Pool Trust is no closer to having a town pool built for the town.

And the delays in getting the pool project off the ground are being laid firmly at the feet of Byron council staff.

"I have been involved in the pool project since 1995 and we are still no closer to having that hole dug for the pool," trust president Peta Heeson said. "The council staff have time and time again put obstacles in our way and they do not support the pool project."

Mrs Heeson said that at a meeting in Bangalow last week held to give the local community a say in spending $1.2 million in Section 94 funds in the town, the pool project did not even rate a mention.

"When Mayor Jan Barham pointed this out to council’s executive manager of planning Ray Darney he dismissed the pool project as a possible recipient of some of the Section 94 funds under the open space area," she said.

"His comments were flippant and disparaging and he stated that the pool project would not get funding or very little if any and that was a long way away. Does Mr Darney realise that the Bangalow community has been fundraising for many, many years now and is he aware that there is a council resolution that states ‘the staff are to co-operate with the Pool Trust to move this project forward’.

"Mr Darney probably did the trust a favour by publicly demonstrating the staff’s attitude to this project which has been an ongoing problem for the trust for many years."

The pool, which is to be built on council land in the Bangalow Sports Complex near the bowling club, is estimated to cost in excess of $1 million. It will be built in stages, will be open 24/7 and will be heated.

Mrs Heeson said the latest hurdle in getting the pool project to fruition was getting a DA lodged.

"To get the DA lodged we have to have access to the land and the council is denying us that access so the trust committee is now in negotiations with the bowling club to get its consent to lease some of the land near the pool site," she said. "All these delays are just so frustrating, it’s just one hurdle after another."

Mrs Heeson said that while council staff did not support the project, councillors and the mayor had been supportive.

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