Council floats plans for new learn-to-swim pool

Orange Council

Orange City Council wants to discover the views of the local community about a proposal to build a dedicated learn-to-swim pool at the Orange Aquatic Centre.

Last night’s Council meeting considered a report on the new pool and voted to put the concept plans on exhibition for community comment.

Mayor Jason Hamling said building the new pool would be an investment in community safety.

“Our Aquatic Centre currently has more than 2500 children and adults every week for swimming lessons,” Cr Hamling said. “It’s great for community safety and community health that Orange residents are growing up being able to swim, and it’s fine in the summer months when we can use both indoor and outdoor pools.”

CROSS SECTION: This concept view of the proposed new pool shows it would be at a higher level than the 50 metre outdoor pool, because of the sloping block at the Aquatic Centre site.

“But in winter when the outdoor pool is closed, it’s very hard for swimmers to find a spare lane.”

Residents are being encouraged to complete a short online survey on the YourSay Orange engagement website.

Orange City Council’s Sport and Recreation Committee chair Cr Tammy Greenhalgh says a dedicated learn-to-swim pool is a great idea.

“Council staff have been looking at the options and talking with experts in the field at Royal Lifesaving NSW,” Cr Greenhalgh said.

“The best option is an indoor, all-year-round, 30-metre pool that is 900mm deep at one end, gently sloping to 1.2 metres deep at the other end. It will be ideal for children and adults to learn to swim.”

The best identified location is alongside Warrendine Street, on the southern side of the Aquatic Centre. One of the challenges of that spot is the 3.2-metre drop in level from Warrendine Street down to the existing outdoor pool. That could also offer some advantages to create a verandah that can overlook the 50-metre pool.

Cr Hamling says it’s the start of a long process to investigate the options for the new pool.

“It’s time to hear the views of the community to see whether locals believe this should be a priority project or not,” Cr Hamling said.

“It’s important to remember that a project of this scale wouldn’t happen without a government grant.”

“We’re at the stage when we want to see what the community thinks.”

During a preliminary investigation, Royal Lifesaving NSW shared its designs for a recently-completed learn-to-swim pool at Denistone East in Sydney. Council used these concepts to help shape the design for the proposed Orange facility.

The early design principles include a plan to use the long northern frontage to passively warm the building in winter months, as well as creating spaces where people can relax in a sunny courtyard setting.

Other design principles for the building include:

using sustainable energy sources for pool heating and air comfort of the building using north-facing solar panels.

  • investigating GeoExchange systems for pre-heating water to reduce electrical load.
  • understanding the implications of high moisture content in the pool hall and its tendency to condense on any horizontal surfaces and windows.
  • tidying the current concrete area used to store the 50-metre pool cover and other equipment by including a more readily accessible concealed storeroom.

Council is yet to receive a detailed cost estimate for the design. This is expected prior to the Christmas break.

No funds have been allocated in the budget for this project. Council staff anticipate that grant funds will be sought when grants rounds become available.

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