Reprieve possible for Katoomba outdoor pool

Glimmer of hope for pool: Blue Mountains mayor Mark Greenhill and Ward 1 Councillor Don McGregor at Katoomba Sports and Aquatic Centre.
Glimmer of hope for pool: Blue Mountains mayor Mark Greenhill and Ward 1 Councillor Don McGregor at Katoomba Sports and Aquatic Centre.

Katoomba’s outdoor swimming pool could be kept open under new plans being examined by Blue Mountains City Council.

An independent review outlining maintenance and upgrade options to extend the life of the 50 metre pool is currently underway following strong community reaction to its mooted closure by council.

Council has received 276 submissions on the draft Open Space and Recreation Strategic Plan. More than 150 of these submissions are about Katoomba outdoor pool.

“Let me say that we hear the community and welcome that feedback,” said Blue Mountains mayor, Mark Greenhill.

“I encourage residents to view the draft plan and have their say before the exhibition period ends.

“We will continue to look at all possibilities to get the balance right in providing recreational facilities that meet community needs, while living within our means.”

Let me say that we hear the community and welcome that feedback.

Mark Greenhill

Apart from the much publicised closure of Katoomba’s outdoor pool, the proposal includes the closure of six other pools in the region – toddlers and mid-sized pools at Blackheath (two), Lawson (two) and Katoomba (two).

They would be replaced by training courts at Katoomba and by spray pads at Blackheath and Lawson.

Council has extended the public exhibition period for the draft plan until January 15 and is due to debate the future of the pools in February.

“The release of this draft strategic plan was the start of a conversation about the future of the city’s open space and recreation facilities, including pools,” said the mayor.

“The way that people use open space and recreation facilities is changing and council’s current approach to providing these facilities is not sustainable, so we’re committed to continue looking at all options along with the community.”

Under the draft plan Katoomba’s outside pool would be shut in 2018 while the season at Blackheath’s 25 metre pool would be extended by two months by heating that pool for six months.

Since the closure proposals were announced in October, the community has been vocal in opposition to the plans, holding ‘swim-ins’ at Katoomba pool.

The Blue Mountains Teachers Federation, Blue Mountains Union and Community Council and Katoomba Swim Club are among those fighting the closure.

- with Jennie Curtin and B C. Lewis