MANLY'S iconic boardwalk and harbour pool were destroyed in a storm almost 50 years ago. But they have never been forgotten.
Now the effort to bring back the much-loved swim spot is getting serious, with Northern Beaches Council preparing a masterplan for the pool and surrounding West Esplanade area. The plan will include a feasibility study into reinstating the boardwalk and harbour pool, upgrading the area around Manly Art Gallery and investigating the future of the former Sea Life Sanctuary aquarium building.
Northern Beaches Cr Candy Bingham, a longtime champion of the boardwalk project, has worked with eco architect Maurice Patten to develop a concept plan for the area.
It includes a boardwalk stretching from Manly Wharf to the former Sea Life Sanctuary; a huge calm-water swimming area with pontoons and a lap-swimming section; an environmental sea-grass area and a little penguin protected zone. On land there would be landscaping and a focus on art, education and culture, anchored by the existing Manly Art Gallery and Museum.
“I’m so excited that this is moving forward,” Cr Bingham said. “There was such a gap when the boardwalk was destroyed, and it’s never really been filled.”
“Manly has always been famous for its ocean beaches, but a lot of people prefer to swim where it’s a bit more sheltered, and they know they are safe from sharks.
“And we'll have a beautiful timber boardwalk running to Federation Point - where the Sea Life Sanctuary was - which gets overlooked. We have the art gallery and cafes and restaurants in a wonderful location there. A boardwalk would make it easy for tourists, and locals, to spread out more and enjoy that part of Manly as well. “
The masterplan will look at environmental outcomes, initial costings, ongoing costs, and aesthetics. It will include extensive community consultation and ultimately determine whether the ambitious boardwalk and pool project will go ahead.
The plan, which should be completed by May, will be partly funded by a $100,000 State Heritage Grant secured by local MP James Griffin.
Candy Bingham, Manly Ward Councillor on Northern Beaches Council. Background in marketing, public relations and community engagement. Author of five business books. Former Lady Mayoress of Sydney. Aka Candy Tymson.