Proposal to use open green space for Aquatic centre

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They are mystified, even by the decision to shortlist Upper Oxley Oval as one of the possible sites.

Port Macquarie-Hastings Council has nominated six sites it prefers as the home of the planned community aquatic centre.

The size sites are, Macquarie Park (Gordon Street), Dixie Park (Aston Street), Findlay Park (Findlay Avenue), Upper Oxley Oval (Pacific Drive), Thrumster Sporting Complex (College Drive) and Wayne Richards Park (Koala Street).

The other option is to upgrade the Port Macquarie Olympic Pool site. It is estimated a new pool project would cost about $40 million to $50 million.

Council acting group manager Amanda Hatton says the six sites have been identified that may be suitable and have the size requirements to accommodate a new contemporary aquatic facility.

“There is also the option to redevelop the existing Port Macquarie Pool,” said Ms Hatton.

“All input is welcomed into the sites that have been proposed, and we encourage the community to let us know what you think by Sunday August 18.

“This input will assist in informing council’s decision on a future direction for a Port Macquarie Aquatic Facility.”

Before you judge the residents as NIMBYs – not in by my backyard – a group of residents say they have been given just two weeks to mount a submission to lodge their opposition for the siting of the project with Port Macquarie-Hastings Council.

Chris Coorey says residents only received council notification in the first week of August with a deadline of August 18.

“Council’s own website says it has undertaken extensive consultation,” Ms Coorey said.

“How is that extensive? Council says that it is likely to make a decision at its September meeting.

“How can we make a contribution to the discussion when we have been given such a small time frame.

“That is not extensive consultation.”

Former principal at the adjoining Port Macquarie High School and resident David Brown said he was concerned that council may not have seriously considered all options.

“We have quite a few concerns,” he said. “One is that this lovely green open space is a link between the beautiful beaches and the town’s CBD.

“If this is the site, it will be simply turned into commercial use.

“Already we have seen a clubhouse confirmed for Oxley Oval with historic pine trees destroyed.

“We are fearful that there is just not enough time to properly discuss the pros and cons of the various alternatives.

“Has council considered the argument to revamp the existing pool for perhaps $10m compared with the $40m expense for a new aquatic centre?

“There are also better sites available,” he said. “Including the current council depot on Koala Street.”

Mr Brown also pointed out that of the six options currently being investigated, the Upper Oxley Oval site was the only one that would directly affect residents.

Originally the site of the town’s golf course, which was relocated to its current position to make way for construction of the high school.

Residents also raised their concerns about increased noise levels and traffic movements along with the potential for late night functions on the developed site.

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