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Buoyed by support shown by six public schools, Steve Pickering, the president of Ulmarra Village Inc, is confident that the village’s residents association will come up with a plan to ultimately save the Ulmarra pool from demolition. File image: Megan Burgess

Schools back reopening Ulmarra pool

Geoff Helisma |

Six public schools have compiled a joint letter of support to reopen the Ulmarra pool.

A 5-4 decision by the valley’s councillors in December 2016 resolved to close the pool at the 2016/17 swimming season’s end.

However, come the October 2018 Clarence Valley Council (CVC) meeting when the Bailey Park Master Plan was tabled, staff recommended demolition of the pool.

At that meeting, a sceptical Cr Andrew Baker advocated a 60-day period (till December 17), “only on the mayor’s advice”, to allow the community to again make a case to keep the pool operating. However, Cr Karen Toms argued that the community should be given until March 19 to come up with a plan.

Councillor Baker said “leaving it until March is little bit cruel to the community”.

“To do anything that puts this off provides false hope,” he said.

“…The community, apart from one speaker, now have let it go.”

Councillors Lysaught, Williamson, Kingsley, Baker and Simmons were in agreement on the 60-day amendment, however, Cr Toms, who advocated the March 19 date, held sway and Cr Simmons supported her subsequent amendment.

Ultimately, after about two hours of debating, councillors unanimously backed Cr Tom’s amendment as part of the final decision to adopt the Bailey Park Master Plan, which, pending the success or not of a proposal to reopen the pool prescribes: “demolish the pool change rooms, fill in the pool, remove the perimeter fence, embellish the on-site wastewater land application system by providing additional absorption trenches and make good the site for future development”.

Councillors budgeted $35,000 from the general fund to pay for the proposed works.

Councillor Toms’ argument was motivated by a passionate deputation from Ulmarra Village Inc’s president, Steve Pickering, at the previous week’s October 9 Corporate, Governance & Works Committee meeting.

Meanwhile, at a meeting of village’s residents association, Ulmarra Village Inc, on Monday February 4, Mr Pickering tabled three well-received proposals and revealed that six public schools – Ulmarra, Cowper, Wooli, Tucabia, Copmanhurst and Baryulgil – have pledged their support.

Mr Pickering said Ulmarra Village Inc is intending to form a pool subcommittee, which is due to meet sometime next week to discuss the three proposals.

At this point, Mr Pickering said he “didn’t want to reveal too much until the plan was ready to submit to the council”.

“We’ll make a decision this month at a subcommittee meeting,” he said.

“It will be finalised before the end of February.

“We want to give it to the council to get some feedback

[from CVC staff]

before it goes to a council meeting.

“The council’s staff have been very supportive so far.”

Mr Pickering said: “Anyone interested in getting the Ulmarra pool open please contact us by email at [email protected].

“We’re going to call on them in the future to show their support,” he said.