COUNCILLOR Jeff Johnson and Country Labor Candidate for Ballina Asren Pugh stand with community members.
COUNCILLOR Jeff Johnson and Country Labor Candidate for Ballina Asren Pugh stand with community members. Amber Gibson

$4 million for Ballina's ocean pool: Labor's promise

BALLINA residents may be swimming in a new ocean pool by the end of this year if Labor wins the upcoming election in March.

On Saturday, Labor candidate for Ballina Asren Pugh announced his support for the new project at Shelly Beach.

If elected, Labor will invest $4 million to build the 'world-class' 50m x 20m pool.

The pool will have a natural sand floor, children's wading pool on the western side of the design, ramp and rail for disability access.

"I'm excited to support it because I think it will be a fantastic tourism draw-card for Ballina," Mr Pugh said.

"I think it will help alleviate concerns around sharks, offering people a safe place to swim no matter what the weather is doing, no matter what is happening in the water. It will be safer for people with mobility issues... safer for young people.

Ballina Shire Councillor, Jeff Johnson, who has led the campaign for the past four years, said 90 per cent of Ballina residents support the pool.

"It will allow many people in our community who are fearful of going into the water - whether it is through tides, currents, sand issues, or other fears - to come and have that ocean swim experience."

"This announcement is wonderful. What a great project this will be for Ballina."

Mr Johnson surveyed six sights in Ballina before identifying the area 50 metres south of the two natural rock pools at Shelley Beach as the preferred sight. "There are 56 ocean pools in NSW which have stood the test of time, many of them being up to a hundred years old," he said.

If plans go ahead, the pool is expected to take 6-8 months to build..