Will Ballina get an ocean pool?
IT COULD be the only Australian ocean pool built in the past 50 years.
But a range of issues will need to be ironed out before Ballina Shire Council will consider a proposed facility at Shelly Beach.
The matter went before the council's ordinary meeting yesterday.
Councillor Jeff Johnson, who is also a member of the proponent, the Ballina Ocean Pool Committee, moved a staff recommendation that the council's endorsement of a planning application - which would be vital for the proposed pool to be allowed - be subject to the resolution of native title discussions, the incorporation of the project into a relevant plan of management and the completion of planning and technical assessments.
Cr Johnson said the committee was "working through” those matters.
Cr Phil Meehan said a key issue was the question was how the pool would be maintained and how much that would cost.
Cr Sharon Cadwallader acknowledged she had publicly supported the project in the past, but foreshadowed a vote to scrap the plan entirely.
She said "a lot of” residents had told her they didn't want an ocean pool and she was concerned about the cost to ratepayers.
Cr Nathan Willis said he supported the ocean pool proposal but felt seeking further information would be "a good exercise in transparency”.
Cr Sharon Parry said she'd heard much support for the project.
"To pull out of it now, I think the community would be devastated,” Cr Parry said.
Mayor David Wright agreed, saying: "too much has been done to throw it away”.
"I want to see if something really innovative can come out of it,” he said.
Councillors ultimately voted to confirm their endorsement of the preparation of a planning approval application for the project would be subject to the resolution of outstanding native title matters and reports.
They also voted to receive an updated report on the planning application at their November meeting and to write to councils with ocean pools to seek information about maintenance schedules and costs.