With it’s incredible location, stunning views and historic importance, the Olympic pool at North Sydney is a local icon. But engineers have warned the structural integrity of the 50m pool and grandstand are deteriorating rapidly and near the end of their usable life. Along with some improvements, the bill has come in at just under $60 million. North Sydney Council has allocated $28 million to the project, but there’s a question around where the remaining $30 million will come from.
The Development Application to improve the Pool is based on a design that includes an updated 50m pool, family leisure pool and warm water play area. It also incorporates a sundeck, a café on level 3 and an expanded gym in a new grandstand.
North Sydney Council General Manager Ken Gouldthorp said while this DA will progress the Pool redevelopment, the project is dependent on funding being available. The Council also resolved to invite the Premier and local State and Federal Members to view the current condition of the grandstand in the hope of securing grant funding.
“Independent engineering consultants have confirmed that the 50m pool, concourse and grandstand require urgent remedial work so we are progressing to DA stage to keep the project on track. However, unless grant funding becomes available, we will need to look at our options. No one wants to see North Sydney Olympic Pool close.”
Mr Gouldthorp said it was appropriate for councils to go into debt for major projects that would last several generations. “Unfortunately, North Sydney Council is not in a position to borrow the full amount without compromising other essential infrastructure and services. While we take the project to the next stage we will be exploring all avenues of funding.”
The iconic North Sydney Olympic Pool was opened in 1936 to host the 1938 Empire Games. Eighty-six world records have been set in its lanes by some of Australia’s best known swimming legends, including Jon Konrads, Lorraine Crapp, Shane Gould and Dawn Fraser.
Today, the Pool is the base for a swimming school, North Sydney Swimming Club and North Sydney Masters Swimming Club, and hosts local school carnivals as well as community events.
Extensive community consultation was undertaken at the start of the redevelopment project with six concept plans placed on public exhibition. Option 2B incorporates the feedback provided by the community at that time. The community will have a further opportunity to comment on the plans when the DA is placed on public exhibition. Provided the remaining funds can be found that is. Stay tuned for updates.