By HARRY CLARKE
THE construction contract to carry out a controversial $7.9 million redevelopment of Tara’s local swimming pool has been awarded to Townsville-based firm Taylor Builders, the Western Downs Regional Council (WDRC) has revealed.
Plans to replace the historic 50m Tara Memorial Swimming Pool with a modern 25m aquatic facility have been the subject of fierce backlash from a vocal section of the community.
The old pool, built in the 1960s by community volunteers and funded by residents themselves, had deep sentimental connection to locals. Many were also unhappy the new pool would be half the length of the old one.
But a council-commissioned engineering assessment last year revealed the memorial pool had reached “an extremely poor condition”, and was a significant safety risk due to “deflection and subsequent concrete spalling of the concourse”.
Council is forging ahead with the redevelopment, which has increased in cost from an initial estimate of $6 million up to $7.9 million.
“Council has approved Taylor Builders to construct the pool, which will see a new 25m pool and facilities delivered to meet a range of needs for the whole community including Learn to Swim, squad training, representative meets, and recreational swimming,” said WDRC Mayor Paul McVeigh.
“With a disability access lane, heating, pool blankets, a brand-new swim club room, tiered relocatable seating, relocatable shades, brand new kiosk, new amenities and new filtration systems, this project ticks so many boxes for the community.”
The current children’s splash area and toddlers pool will be retained with improved self-watering grassed areas and shaded seating that enhance the experience for supervising adults and families.
“The existing pool is over 60 years old and has reached the end of its life,” Mr McVeigh said.
“The new aquatic facility will ensure the Tara community can enjoy their pool for the next 50 years, and will deliver modern, accessible facilities the whole community will enjoy.”
Construction is expected to commence in the new year and be completed during the 2022/23 swim season.