Mayor's Wellington Column 19 December 2018

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We have a decision to make about the Wellington pool that locals should know about.

In February at the next meeting of Council, Councillors will grapple with a dilemma that will cause a lot of chatter among the community. 

As you would be aware, we are spending around $8 million dollars on a massive pool upgrade which will effectively see the whole complex rebuilt into a modern aquatic centre fit for the 21st century. 

As part of the initial community consultation, two main things were to stay, firstly the front façade entrance, and the claret ash tree.

Since excavating has started a discovery has been made regarding the claret ash tree. It turns out that the root system is ingrained under the front façade and is likely to cause major damage.

Because of this council has two options:

  1. Do massive earth works that will protect the front façade from tree roots. Such works will require an alteration of the original Development Application, and could also require another hearing at the Joint Regional Planning Panel. A new DA is likely to delay the construction and force the closure of the facility past even next year’s pool season.

  2. Remove the tree and replace it with a new mature tree that doesn’t have the same complex and strong root system that a Claret Ash Tree does.

Council staff will be providing a detailed report to councillors at the February meeting that explains in detail all the technical aspects of the issue. 

My initial attitude is that the Wellington is already suffering from not having a pool during this summer period, and we should be doing whatever we can to not let it drag on for two seasons.

Councillors will certainly have a very tough decision to make. A lot of locals have fond memories of that beautiful large tree and sadly there is no practical way you can replicate a big tree like that.

On the other hand, in a hot place like central west NSW it is essential that out cities and towns have an appropriate swimming pool facility for both sport and recreation. 

In my personal view, two years without a public pool would be unacceptable.

Last Edited: 19 Dec 2018

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