Moree Artesian Aquatic Centre will once again be the jewel in Moree's crown, when the long-awaited reconstruction of the Olympic pool is complete, according to mayor Katrina Humphries. "It has always been the jewel in our crown and it will be our jewel again," Cr Humphries said.
The reconstruction has been years in the making, ever since the redevelopment of the facility in 2012."Since completion of the redevelopment, a range of issues associated with the Olympic pool have impacted the way local community members, visitors from the surrounding region and tourists alike could use the Olympic pool," MPSC general manager Lester Rodgers said. "The past few years have been very challenging; due to issues associated with the Olympic pool, we have had to restrict patron access to the far side of the pool, on the southern side and this has affected its usage.
"In late 2017, council commenced proceedings in the Supreme Court of NSW as a result of the construction of the 50 metre Olympic pool. Those proceedings were ultimately settled shortly before trial, which means council is now able to commence works to replace the troublesome pool. Cr Humphries was delighted with the outcome and pleased that council is now in a position to move forward with works for the new Olympic pool. "It will be wonderful," she said.
"Of course we are disappointed that we need to close this part of the MAAC for a period of time but we are looking forward to the long-term benefits its reconstruction will create. It means that in time, the MAAC will be able to offer a world-class, Olympic FINA standard competition pool that can be used by the local community, the surrounding region and visiting tourists."
Council is now in the process of de-commissioning the Olympic pool and commencing the procurement process for the reconstruction before undertaking community consultation. "We hope to be in a position to commence construction of the new Olympic pool sooner rather than later," Mr Rodgers said.
"The construction time for the new Olympic pool will depend on this design so at the present time, council is unable to confirm when the new Olympic pool will be completed, however, I can confirm that the Olympic pool will not be in operation for the2020/2021 swim season. "The decommissioning of the pool began at an opportune time, when the MAAC was shut due to COVID-19 restrictions.
During that time, work has also been underway to re-cement and re-tile the outside hot pools, which remain closed to the public. The gym and wellness centre pool have since reopened to the public, with the remaining operations to be reopened once more restrictions are lifted. It is hoped that these parts of the facility will all remain open while the reconstruction takes place.
"During the construction period, our top priority is to ensure that locals and visitors can continue to use the other facilities at the MAAC to their full extent," Cr Humphries said. "We understand that this closure will in convenience our regular pool users and sincerely apologise for this unavoidable disruption."
Credit to the Moree Champion and Sophie Harris