Bonalbo Pool.
Bonalbo Pool. Susana Freymark

Sign of dry times as Bonalbo Pool closed

THE small and dry town of Bonalbo has had its public pool closed due to Level 4 water restrictions imposed by Kyogle Council.

Resident Roger Gaudio is upset about the closure and the lack of community consultation and has written an open letter to Kyogle mayor Danielle Mulholland.

"Clearly the lack of respect given to the Bonalbo Community with this failure by the Kyogle Council to consult with our community has not allowed us the opportunity to pursue these options to pursue support to keep the Bonalbo Pool open without it affecting the local water supply," Mr Gaudio wrote in his letter.

(See below for full transcript of his letter).

The mayor is equally frustrated but said she feels for the people at Bonalbo.

"We're doing the best we can," Ms Mulholland said.

"We've got to get into the headspace that water is like money and we have to be careful."

Level 4 water restrictions are in place at Bonalbo.

The pool uses five per cent of target water consumption that comes from the dam at Bonalbo, Ms Mulholland said.

It's not just about topping up the pool but also the showers at the pool, she said.

"Bonalbo can't afford the water at the moment," she said.

"If we don't get rain by April, we'll be out of water and will have to truck it in."

Regarding community consultation on the pool closure, Ms Mulholand said a notice was put in the paper and flyers were distributed in Bonalbo.

"The closing of the pool is a signpost to be careful. Don't use water on you garden if its looking parched," she said.

Drinking water suplies are the priority, the mayor said.

"The reality is - desirablility does not trump essentials," Ms Mulholland said.

The council is organising a bus from Bonalbo to nearby Woodenbong Pool.

Arrangements will be made for season passes to the pool to be used at other pools or for next season.

Open letter to Kyogle mayor

I understand the significance of the current crisis in Bonalbo regarding the valuable  resource that water is and the importance of escalating water restrictions to manage the dwindling reserves.

Yet a great disservice to Bonalbo by the Kyogle Council was the complete lack of community consultation to discuss the closure of the pool allowing the opportunity for discussion on any options pursuable to sustain this valuable social and therapeutic community resource without it impacting on the local water supply. 

I believe by doing so the Kyogle Council has grossly underestimated the great value to the community that the Bonalbo Swimming Pool brings.

As a Health Care worker with a specialty in mental health and a frequent user of the pool I am witness to local families and individuals gaining valuable theraputic interaction during these stressful bushfire seasons whilst trying to endure the hottest summers in recorded history. 

What is the option for Bonalbo families, couples and individual to engage with each other in this community, we do not have an air-conditioned hall or even a shade clothed covered playground or exercise equipment  for families and individuals to destress in. 

We are a small community, we do not have air conditioned  cafes, restaurants, or play centres.

The Pub and the Bowls Club are the only air-conditioned facilities, as wonderful as they are, many families and individuals reserve the right to consider these facilities to be not the ideal environments for themselves for healthy engagement and socialisation

It is very difficult in the short term to quantify the therapeutic value of local access to the Bonalbo Pool, but I suggest the Lord Mayor and the Kyogle Council CEO actually visit Bonalbo and spend a Sunday in the pool in these gruelling relentless high temperatures and witness the joyous screams and laughter of families swimming and playing together, senior citizens swimming and gaining much valuable exercise with individuals of all ages gaining healthy social interaction with other community  members. 

Recent communications to Council by alarmed and concerned pool users is an option offered by the council for consideration of a part time bus service to Woodenbong Pool, because all other local communities with Pools are still open whilst ours is forced to close. 

This is not offered daily and when offered it would be roundtrip of over an hour and a half, that would then monopolise a day for many busy families as opposed to a hour or two out of a busy day. As such this  is an impractical option for most and discriminatory to Bonalbo  as it denies our community solely in the  Kyogle Council region the healthy daily convenience of local access to the Pool.

There is state and federal crisis funding available for the maintenance of vital community assets.

Clearly the lack of respect given to the Bonalbo Community with this failure by the Kyogle Council to consult with our community has not allowed us the opportunity to pursue these options to pursue support to keep the Bonalbo Pool open without it affecting the local water supply. 

Shame on You Kyogle Council.

Roger Gaudio, Bonalbo Resident