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Clarence Valley residents displayed their concerns and frustrations surrounding the Grafton Olympic Pool at the monthly council meeting, held at the Grafton Council Chambers on September 27. Image: Emma Pritchard

Community pool together at CVC meeting

Emma Pritchard


Holding signs reading “save our pools” and “learn to swim, where?” several Clarence Valley residents and members of local swimming clubs demonstrated their concerns surrounding the future of the Grafton Olympic Pool at the monthly council meeting on September 27.

Described by Clarence Valley Council (CVC) Mayor Ian Tiley as “democracy in action”, it was standing room only within the gallery at the Grafton Council Chambers as the substantial crowd in attendance formed a line which extended out the door and onto the footpath.

Vice President of the Grafton District Services Club (GDSC) Swimming Club Steve Donnelly presented a deputation to councillors prior to the meeting, outlining the importance of community accessibility to the Grafton Olympic Pool, the necessity of reopening the facility as soon as possible, the long-term impacts on residents and economic loss to the region, and increased demand on pools in Maclean and South Grafton for the foreseeable future.

Following the decision by council to commit $3.8 million to the redevelopment of the Grafton Olympic Pool, and the commencement of a two-stage selective tender process after councillors voted 6-3 to endorse the proposal and focus on delivering Stage 1, Mr Donnelly told the Clarence Valley Independent that while it would have been utopia to have Stages 1 and 2 of the redevelopment completed together, he concluded it is still a “good result” for the local community for Grafton to have a new swimming complex.

“We need an operational pool in Grafton, it’s as simple as that” he explained.

“Ideally, we need it now, but we ended up with a result, and Grafton will get a new swimming pool.”

Mr Donnelly revealed he wasn’t surprised to see such a large attendance at the meeting last week, and said it highlighted the urgent needs and requirements of the community to have an operational pool in Grafton available to them.

While the scheduled reopening of Grafton Olympic Pool for the 2022/23 season was postponed last month due to major safety concerns after substantial subsidence was discovered to have occurred between maintenance inspections in June and July this year, Mr Donnelly estimates the facility will be closed for up to two or three years while the delivery of the new precinct is undertaken, adding it would be awesome if it could be done quicker.

Other members of the GDSC Swimming Club who attended the meeting said they are keen to see the Grafton Olympic Pool reopen to the community, and agreed a $3.8 million commitment was a step in the right direction towards making it a reality.

“This community wants and needs a pool where people can learn to swim and train, and just enjoy themselves,” they said.

“We want council to make it happen.”