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$55 million to spend without a 50m pool

Wollongong City Council will consider the draft master plan for Beaton Park, before residents have their say on suggested upgrades.

The Council says it will need to spend at least $55 million to turn Beaton Park into a significant sports precinct over the next 20 years. The final result will mean a new 3,000 seat stadium with six basketball courts, a larger water playground and state of the art gym.

The first stage which is estimated to cost $14 million will mean a community space, new pathways and fitness equipment, with an upgrade of the grass field and athletics track. This stage also encompasses a major expansion of the current aquatic facilities; this will include a hydrotherapy pool, a water play park and new spa and sauna. However the requests for a 50m swimming pool have been ignored, the council argued “it’s not considered to be a priority”.

The Council have justified this decision, “with an abundance of water facilities within the Local Government Area, including swimming pools, rock pools and beaches, another 50 metre pool is not considered to be a priority at this site and is therefore not identified as part of the draft master plan for this site."

Explaining this statement further the council advised that the Corrimal pool is marked to be “the premier competitive pool” for the Wollongong area and it has now been included in the master plan.

To make the upgrades viable the Council have investigated the idea of applying for grants, working with local sports groups or undertaking joint ventures, however these actions will not take place until the plan for redevelopment is endorsed.

In the published estimations the council calculated that the income will double from pool fees, and receive a 50% membership and café rental increase. As it stands Beaton Park is subsidized, costing the council $500,000. After the upgrade is complete the facility will cost $2.7 million a year to run.

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