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Walgett’s only public pool to close

Council contractors working to get the Walgett pool ready for its opening last year. Inset – Walgett Swimming Pool Kiosk and Entrance. Photo TWH

Walgett Shire Council has announced that it intends to close the town’s only public swimming pool.

At its meeting held last week Walgett Council resolved to decommission the Walgett Memorial Swimming Pool.

According to Acting General Manager, Hugh Percy, the pool which is over 50 years old, has various issues, including leaks and a failing sand filtration system.

Mr Percy said that it will cost in excess of $1.7 million to temporarily fix these issues for the 2023/2024 swimming season.

“Council is acutely aware of the impact this will place on community members, particularly in the coming warmer months,” Mr Percy said.

At its regular meeting on July 5, Walgett Council resolved to “immediately have plans prepared to replace the pool and then urgently source funding for such replacement, including an upgrade of the changeroom and entrance facilities”.

No indication has been given of the cost to replace the present pool, and council is apologising to Walgett residents for the inconvenience the pool closure will cause.

NSW Nationals leader Dugald Saunders and Shadow Minister for Western NSW Sarah Mitchell are both calling on the NSW Labor government to provide immediate solutions to manage the planned shutdown of the pool during the upcoming summer.

Mr Saunders says the Minister for Western NSW, Tara Moriarty, should step in to help find a solution that doesn’t leave residents without this vital community facility.

“The prospect of an Outback community like Walgett not having a pool in summer is almost beyond comprehension and this needs to be addressed by the Minister urgently,” Mr Saunders said.

“Having a major recreational facility out of action in a place like Walgett will create a number of issues relating to health, safety, and law and order, and it isn’t something that can be put on the backburner to be looked at in six months’ time.”

Walgett Shire Mayor Jane Keir said the situation confronting the community is dire.

“We’re 115km from Coonamble’s pool and 80km from Lightning Ridge’s pool and the tyranny of distance means this is a diabolical situation for our residents,” Councillor Keir said. […]

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