Council adopts ten year plan on parks pools and play

30 July 2018

Blue Mountains City Council has adopted the Open Space and Recreation Strategic Plan, and supporting Play Guidelines, which will guide how Council provides and manages open space and sport and recreation facilities and services over the next ten or more years for the local community and visitors.

Mayor, Cr Mark Greenhill, said it was clear that the type of open space and recreation services we offer in the future is an important issue for community and the City.

“I am confident that the final Open Space and Recreation Strategic Plan reflects the community priorities and feedback”, he said.

“The plan recognises that the way the community uses local sport and recreation facilities and open spaces is changing and that many of our recreation facilities are ageing and do not meet modern standards.”

The Open Space and Recreation Strategic Plan has been developed following extensive research and consultation with community and other stakeholders on recreation participation and priorities.

Council received over 1900 submissions from the community - a total of 644 original submissions were received plus 1354 template submissions. Submissions were made on every theme in the draft Plan, with the large majority of community comments on the themes of pools and play:

  • 99% of submissions (616 original submissions plus 1354 template submissions) made comment on the theme of POOLS; and
  • 69% of submissions (55 original submissions plus 1320 template submissions) made comment on the theme of PLAY

The Mayor said, “I would like to thank residents and others for taking the time and effort to make a submission. Consulting with the community is important and we appreciate your feedback.”

The earlier draft Open Space and Recreation Strategic Plan had proposed some of the individual pools within some centres being closed or modified. However, the Council has considered alternative options to retain different pools, including Katoomba’s 50-metre outdoor pool, in response to the high level of community interest and feedback:

BLACKHEATH POOL: Council will retain the free-form and toddler pools at the Blackheath Pool for the time being. Council is looking at options to extend the life of these pools and will continue to monitor of any further deterioration of the pool structures, in consultation with engineers.

LAWSON POOL: Council will retain the two children’s pools at Lawson Swim Centre. A new filtration system will be connected to the existing children’s pools, with minor improvements to the surrounds of the children’s pool.

KATOOMBA POOL: Council is reviewing options to retain the 50m outdoor pool however the outdoor children's pools have deteriorated to the point where they can’t be retained. The children’s pools would have to be completely replaced with a new and separate filtration system at a significant cost OR instead, Council could invest in the outdoor pool area in other ways.

A separate report, on the options to extend the life of the 50m outdoor pool at Katoomba and the children’s pools at Blackheath, is expected to be presented to the Council meeting in September 2018. This report will be informed by a recent survey of Katoomba Pool users which showed strong support for the replacement of the children's pools with a small pool integrated with a water playground as well as providing more options for teenagers.

“I think we have got the balance right for now”, said the Mayor. “The Strategic Plan recognises that Council needs to refocus on what the community needs, now and into the future, where it invests and how it maintains open space.

“We will continue to consider how we provide the best possible mix of sport and recreation services across the City that meets community needs in the longer term while living within our means.

“This includes ongoing investigations into options to extend the life of Katoomba and Blackheath outdoor pools.”

The plan is comprehensive and will guide the Council in the delivery of a broad range of different sport and recreation themes such as walking; bushwalking; parks; play; urban cycling; mountain biking; pools; cliff sports; dog exercise; sports grounds; and sports courts.

For example, one approach is to invest in larger, more interesting play areas in the district and larger parks across the City. It also looks at funding options and potential partnerships with other providers, such as NPWS, sporting groups, and the NSW Office of Sport and Recreation.

“Our approach to providing recreation facilities over the next ten years aims to provide the best possible services within available resources that meet the changing recreation needs of the community as well as industry standards, now and in the future”, said the Mayor.

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