A controversial decision to build a water polo pool at Manly swim centre will stand, despite concerns the decision process sidelined locals, pool users and councillors alike.
Councillor Candy Bingham used Manly Council's first meeting of the year to ask for the polo pool to be put on hold until the council has seen a full business case on how it will be funded and operated.
The polo pool, which will replace the existing 25m outdoor pool,
was not part of the redevelopment plan for the Centre until last October, when the council agreed to "explore the possibility" of building a water polo pool.
No further discussion took place, however a Development Application (DA) to build the water polo pool was lodged just before Christmas, with submissions to the DA closing before council resumed this week.
"You can't tell me that due process has been followed here," Cr Bingham said. "I'm not against the possibility of a water polo pool at the swim centre. I'm just appalled at the contempt with which the elected councillors are treated."
The councillors weren't the only ones left out of the loop.
Several Manly residents spoke at the Council meeting asking the council to keep the 25m outdoor pool as it is. Reasons include the huge popularity of the pool with small children, who are too big for the toddler pool but still need a pool where they can always touch the bottom. Nervous adult swimmers love it too, as well as mothers who can look after several children at once with the existing arrangement of the toddler and 25m pools right next to each other.
The polo pool decision also goes against a public promise made by Manly Council General Manager Henry Wong that the existing pool would not be touched. The commitment, made to the Manly Daily in July, followed community anger at initial plans to remove the "beloved" 25m pool.
However Liberal councillors, voting as a block, signed the 25m pool's death warrant.
"I'm really disappointed," Clr Bingham said. "I'm disappointed that my Liberal colleagues are prepared to accept such a sloppy decision making process. "Now we're going ahead with a $1.5 million piece of infrastructure, even though the council never made the decision to build it, and the locals don't want it."
Candy Bingham, Former Councillor Manly Council. Background in marketing, public relations & community engagement. Author of five business books. Former Lady Mayoress of Sydney. Aka Candy Tymson.