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The end of an era as Ulmarra pool closes

The community swimming pool complex in Ulmarra closed permanently last Thursday (April 13). The facility, which includes an 18m x 5m outdoor pool and a small toddler pool, is owned by the Clarence Valley Council. Council acting general manager, Ashley Lindsay, said that in an ideal world council would be able to keep the facility going, but economic pressures and budget constraints meant savings had to be made. He said council reduced entry fees to $1 per entry during January this year and there had been some improvement in attendances, but not enough to suggest it should remain open. “There just isn’t enough usage to justify keeping it open,” he said. “In 2013/14 there were 3026 individual entries, in 2014/15 that fell to 2080, in 2015/16 it fell further to 1678, but with the reduced fees in 2016/17 it rose to 3336,” he said. “We can’t hold those reduced fees forever, and despite community initiatives there hasn’t been a sufficient increase in use to suggest the pool should stay open, so we’ve reached the difficult decision to close it. “It is now more than 50 years old and maintenance is becoming increasingly expensive. Those costs would just continue to rise over time.” Mr Lindsay said, however, the land would remain in public use and council was now asking the residents with ideas to let council know how they would like to see an expanded Bailey Park utilised. “We will accept any ideas on options for Bailey Park’s development. They need not be limited to the rehabilitation of the pool site, an upgraded playground and/or recreation and park facilities, access to the river, landscaping and improved street car parking,” he said. Council will soon call for submissions on the redevelopment of Bailey Park.