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CVC’s Yamba rock pool headache

Geoff Helisma

Over recent years the deteriorating structural integrity of the Yamba rock pool at Main Beach has been the subject of several expensive decisions to keep it operational.

At the December Clarence Valley Council (CVC) meeting, councillors unanimously agreed to take an each way bet on the pool’s medium and long term future.
The council will “undertake repairs to the Yamba Rock Pool at a cost of $278,810” and, with the long term in mind, “undertake community consultation with regard to the provision of a new rock pool”.

Before the medium term option can be implemented, however, CVC will have to consult with the NSW Department of Industry’s Crown Lands Division and Yaegl Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation.
The long term option includes the “development of a concept plan which addresses the rock pool area, Yamba main beach and associated foreshore improvements”.
Councillors allocated $6,000 to undertake the community consultation for the long term option.
Any works carried out will be funded from the Clarence Coast Reserve Trust, of which CVC is the corporate manager.
The councillors’ decision was based on a $26,000 report – commissioned at the August 2017 CVC meeting – that considered the short, medium and long term options to maintain the pool.
In September 2017, cracks were filled, however, following heavy seas and high tides, further leaks occurred – these, too, have been repaired in an effort to keep the pool open during the holiday season.

The medium term works that councillors have approved will repair the most eastern third of the pool, in a similar fashion to the $253,850 repair of the middle third of the pool in 2012/13.
The long term option suggests rebuilding the pool “as far away from the surf impact zone as possible” but “mostly [within and] above the existing pool”.

On the cost of the long term option, the report to council advised: “Costs estimates have not been finalised or determined at the time of the writing this report but are expected to be several million ($3.5-5 million range) just for the rock pool.

“Costs for the Yamba Main Beach and Foreshore Improvement works would be determined following community consultation and any planning processes which followed.”
Ongoing maintenance and cleaning costs for the pool have generally been in the $25,000 to $35,000 range, however, “in 2016/17, expenditure for cleaning and maintenance was $45,491”, which included “additional cleans to overcome odour from degrading seaweed and general cleanliness during the summer months”.