The Nuriootpa War Memorial Swimming Pool, due to celebrate its 75th anniversary next year, could be one major expense away from closure, fears the Nuriootpa War Memorial Swimming Pool Working Group.
Group spokeswoman, Ms Jacqui Will said the group is putting out a plea to the community to rediscover the fun and support the pool during the 2019/20 season.
“We acknowledge that the Council has been far sighted and has kept that pool open when so many other Councils were closing theirs,” Ms Will said.
“My fear is that if a major expense now happens at the pool, that will be enough to close it.
“It would be terrible because it’s just brilliant, and too few people make use of it. It’s open early in the morning so it’s accessible before work, there’s no line ups, you just get in and you swim. It’s a full length, it’s six lanes, there’s balloons passing overhead and there’s birds, it’s just glorious. And I just wish more people took advantage of it.”
The appeal comes as The Barossa Council approved the allocation of $50,000 to repair pipe work and de-laminated tiles at the September Council meeting.
In addition to approving the expenditure, elected members also agreed that consultation take place on the future aquatic needs of the community during the upcoming season.
The pool’s working group was formed four years ago when interested members of the community noticed that while still being maintained at an operational level, the pool was “dying a slow death” in terms of being a place of entertainment.
They have worked hard to lift the Nuriootpa Pool back up to being the vibrant, entertaining, welcoming place that it has been known to be for generations.
“Council actually really responded,” said Ms Will.
“They replaced the solar heating, because that was the big let down of the pool, people regarded it as cold. So the solar heating was really important. They also have pool covers, and the water temperature is generally well above 20 degrees.”
The loss of the diving boards due to safety regulations was a blow for the pool, however toys were purchased and tubes were donated by local suppliers to boost entertainment.
Other low cost improvements such as an electric barbecue and a volleyball net were installed last season to add more recreational options, and have been widely enjoyed.
Movie nights have also been introduced.
However attendance has declined, with 7,283 recorded visits to the pool last season, approximately 2,000 visits less than in 2017/18.
Council’s Community Projects Manager, Ms Rebecca Tappert said that Council is aware of the increasing concern over the condition of the “much-loved” Nuriootpa Pool.
“A detailed external engineering condition assessment was carried out prior to the 2015/16 season,” Ms Tappert said.
“The decisions taken by Council since then have endeavoured to balance the demand for continued use of the pool, the rate of deterioration due to the age of the infrastructure, changes in more contemporary pool engineering and service standards, and the costs associated with implementing any significant changes.
“If other failures are experienced during the 2019-20 season, officers will inform elected members for a decision on how to proceed.”
In the face on an uncertain future, the working group holds concerns for the Barossa Triathlon Club, which has found an ideal home at the Nuriootpa Pool.
The venue also still hosts school swimming carnivals. School attendances accounted for 2,127 visits to the pool last season.
“What we are fighting for is for the Council to keep offering that pool, doing what it needs to do so that the community still has its outdoor pool,” said Ms Will.
“Plus the Triathlon Club offers the chance to join in no matter what your age or ability.
“The Barossa Council has been providing all this at the same low cost for many years.”
The group is calling on the community to get behind the town icon that has meant so much to so many, including as an honoured War Memorial.
“The Council have been responsive and have listened to what the community have said, so it’s up to the community to back that up and say yes, we’ll support the pool,” said Ms Will.
“I don’t think people realise that it’s very tenuous. If the Council understands that the community wants them to keep investing money in this beautiful asset they will respond to that.
“I’d just encourage people to come and enjoy everything that is on offer at this fantastic facility when it opens again in November.”
The overall strategy for Council’s aquatic services is being developed as part of the Draft Aquatic Strategy.
The report was tabled at the July Council meeting but is currently lying on the table pending the outcome of The Big Project prioritisation.