Council consultant pulls support for Tara Pool Master Plan
REPORTS have revealed that a frequent consultant of the Western Downs Regional Council, has pulled their support and services for the Tara Pool project.
The Corporate Services Report for the Tara Pool Precinct Masterplan Update, said as a result of council deciding to take on-board community concerns about the length of the pool in the proposed development, an external consultant who specialise in leisure facility planning, managing and operating pulled their support for the project.
“The external consultant communicated their concern about this decision, the implications on the stakeholder engagement and withdrew from the community engagement for the project,” the report read.
“(The consultants are) familiar with the Western Downs, having undertaken several projects and studies in partnership with Council over recent years…and have delivered numerous aquatic facility projects across the country.
“Stakeholder engagement was initially planned to be facilitated at the Tara Pool on 27 August 2020, as part of the process it was proposed for a survey to be made available for interested residents to submit their feedback.”
The report noted the council understands the importance of providing quality recreational and sporting facilities for the Tara community.
“The development of a Masterplan for the Tara Pool Precinct will provide Council with a clear strategy for the redevelopment of the pool with due consideration to asset management, financial implications, land use planning, design and functional mix, community needs and expectations and future expansion / growth potential.”
Backlash ignited in July against the Western Downs Regional Council’s multimillion-dollar Tara Pool Master Plan, with farmers, community members, and the meet manager of the Tara Swim Club expressing great concern over the council’s plans to replace the 50m pool with a 25m pool.
An online petition was also created urging the council to keep the pool length at 50m, which garnered 2414 signatures in support.
The community backlash prompted the Western Downs Region Council to revisit the $3 million upgrade which was allocated as part of their COVID-19 stimulus package.
At the general council meeting on August 19, council agreed to look at other options that ‘include but aren’t limited to’; replacing the pool with a 50m pool with lane numbers and widths the same or greater than current pool size, repairing the existing 50m pool, and replacing the pool with a 25m pool suitable for club and school district carnivals and recreational uses.
At council’s recent general meeting on Wednesday September 23, at the Chinchilla Cultural Centre, Strategic Communications and Council Facilities councillor Megan James welcomed a report on the Tara Pool Precinct Masterplan Update.
Cr James said she was pleased that the council will be taking time to consider the needs of the Tara community, ensuring they get the right facility.
The report was moved by Cr James, seconded Cr Saxelby, and carried by all councillors.
When The Chinchilla News asked the WDRC directly if it was reconsidering the length of the pool, the council did not respond to the question.