FIGHTING SPIRIT: Residents stand firm as reported on April 13.
FIGHTING SPIRIT: Residents stand firm as reported on April 13.

Glenreagh and Ulmarra in pools win

POOLS in Glenreagh and Ulmarra will re-open this summer and the Valley's councillors appear to be distancing themselves from any plan to close them.

As Cr Craig Howe put it at Tuesday night's committee meeting, any decision to close the pools would not happen in the near future and may not happen at all.

"The message I want to convey to those communities is the decision is still on the table but we've deferred it until we've looked at the big picture," Cr Howe said.

"And it may not even come to that; we might not close any pools."

On April 9 the council was presented with consultant recommendations on how to manage the Valley's pools.

Because of the cost of running pools in Glenreagh and Ulmarra, it suggested closures be considered.

The suggestion has met with virulent opposition from the community.

And at Tuesday's environment, planning and works committee meeting, the councillors were confronted with a barrage of support for the pools.

But protest against closure had moved to pro-active solutions to make the facilities financially viable.

Some ideas the communities put forward are now set to be adopted.

New signs to draw in more customers, better bulk-buying options for tickets, a swimming club and exercise classes were some options the community brought to the council.

The fact the community came back with a positive solution instead of just a mass of protest was something that impressed councillors.

As Mayor Richie Williamson said after the committee meeting where the ideas were tabled, the whole tone was very positive.

"I said at the time, when I attended a public meeting at Glenreagh, how good it was to get some pro-active comments from the community."

But what to do with the document that caused the initial controversy?

People made clear they would like the Aquatic Facilities Strategy binned.

But the Mayor said while pool closures were more or less off the cards, for now, parts of the document still deserved consideration.

And the council may still adopt those parts.

"The closure of pools is a very small piece of what was really a long-term strategy," Cr Williamson said.

The council will decide how to respond to the strategy at an ordinary meeting on Tuesday at the Prince St chambers, Grafton.

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