Iconis North Sydney pool to reopen pending safety checks

North Sydney Olympic Pool is set reopen pending an engineering review. Photo: AAP. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

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SYDNEY, May 19, 2020, SMH. North Sydney Olympic Pool will reopen to 10 people a time if it passes an engineer’s review after immense community pressure to allow swimmers back into the ailing venue, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

North Sydney mayor Jilly Gibson said she hoped the harbourside pool would be open by Saturday on a booking system basis adopted by other councils before her proposal was approved by a majority of councillors on Monday night.

Following the implementation of COVID-19 restrictions the pool was originally slated to be closed until September, when works are expected to begin on the long awaited $57.9 million redevelopment, meaning it would have remained closed to the public for more than two years.

Cr Gibson said the closure had been met with major community outcry, which had caused her to revisit the decision in light of Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s announcement of restrictions being eased earlier this month.

“The circumstances have changed, the Prime Minister made an announcement that swimming to a limited extent would be able to occur in outdoor pools and so we have reacted quickly,” Cr Gibson said when moving her mayoral minute.

If reopened, it will come at a cost of up to $700 a day to heat the pool, as well as $9800 for the engineer’s report. Two more staff may also be required to aid the solo staff member manning the facility, but they would be diverted from existing jobs, Cr Gibson said.

During an April meeting general manager Ken Gouldthorp said the pool was leaking so badly the void space beneath it was constantly full of water, preventing regular inspections. He also said the pool concourse had “significantly deteriorated”.

“It doesn’t appear that it’s at the stage of immediate collapse but we can’t say for certain as to what the status of it is … it is not as simple as just saying ‘let’s reopen the facility’,” Mr Gouldthorp said.

The wording of Cr Gibson’s minute, which hinged the reopening of the pool on there not being “significant” structural deterioration, was criticised by councillor MaryAnn Beregi as a move that was “set to fail”.

“‘Significant’ is a subjective measure … and so what we’re doing is we’re saying we’d like to reopen the pool but we want to hide behind the report, and then the report will show significant further deterioration and the pool will not reopen,” Cr Beregi said during the meeting.

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