Lane Cove Council Releases Further Information on Lane Cove 50 M Pool Upgrade

In the Cove recently published an article on the history and future of the Lane Cove 50 m outdoor pool.  In this article. we told you the 50m outdoor pool and grandstand will be replaced in mid 2019.Until recently, Lane Cove Council had provided very little information on why, how, what and when this would all happen.

The Lane Cove Council published its December 2018 Meeting Agenda  (“Agenda Papers”). The reasons for replacing the existing 50 m pool and grandstand are set out in the Agenda Papers.

Lane Cove Council have acknowledged the 50m Pool has had a history of leaking for 20 years. To extend the life of the 50m Pool, repairs to reduce the leaks were undertaken during this 20 year period.

In 2016, Lane Cove Council staff commenced planning for the replacement of the 50m Pool and Grandstand. The plan was to replace the Grandstand first and the 50m Pool after completion of the Grandstand.  A staged construction timetable would give Lane Cove Council time to accumulate funds to replace the 50m pool in 2019/20.

The December Agenda Papers state:

Ultimately the Grandstand replacement was put on hold when the operator, Bluefit, raised the option of relocating the swimming pool to the Phoenix Street side of the site to provide the opportunity for additional facilities on the site.

This was the only explanation as to why plans were put on hold in 2016.

Since 2017, Lane Cove Council has been conducting structural inspections at six monthly intervals. In May 2018, the 50 m pool and grandstand were inspected in preparation for the upcoming swim carnival season. After this inspection some minor works were undertaken.

In  June 2018, the Lane Cove Council knew the “end was near” and budgeted in their 2018/2019 budget for the replacement of the 50 m pool and grandstand in 2019/20. This work was due to start after the Rosenthal Car Park Redevelopment had finished.

As you know, things don’t always go to plan. Bad news was received in October 2018.  The Lane Cove Council’s Structural Engineer advised Lane Cove Council to close all but the lowest seven rows of the Grandstand.

At the same time, the Structural Engineer suggested regular inspections of the 50m Pool. The 50m Pool is now checked weekly. It is not feasible to continue weekly inspections for a long period of time.  A decision had to be made to replace the 50m Pool earlier than planned.

The 50m pool proposed closure date was originally scheduled for 30th April 2019 (after the summer season and school carnivals). Due to urgent safety concerns the 50m pool will be closed from Monday 17 December 2018.

While Council had been preparing for the closure of the pool in 2019, pool experts and engineers have observed such a rapid decline in recent weeks that they have deemed the pool is not safe for public use.

Evidently adverse weather conditions including drought and heavy rains has accelerated the pool’s decline with changes moving from weekly to daily occurrences. Part of the pool’s water supply will be drained in mid December to ensure the area can be stabilised before the Christmas holidays.

Fast Tracking

This structural deterioration has led to fast tracking the 50 m pool and grandstand rebuilding project.

Lane Cove residents were stunned to hear the 50 m Pool was being replaced.  Community groups and the Lane Cove Swim Club were out of the communication loop.  If you’re an avid reader of the Lane Cove Council’s budget papers you may have had an idea that the Pool was being replaced. (Note: Only one (1) written submission was received and 17 people completed Lane Cove Council’s survey on the 2018/2019 draft budget plan).  So basically this project was not on Lane Cove Residents’ radar.

Next Steps

Lane Cove Council has now appointed architects Team 2 to develop an integrated grandstand design.  They are also working with Aquatic Centre experts Liquid Blu.  Liquid Blu have been appointed to design the new 50m Pool.

Lane Cove Council state in their Agenda Papers that they will have discussions and obtain feedback with key stakeholders on the proposed design as part of the process.

Where Will the New 50m Pool be Located?

The 50m 50 m pool and grandstand will be in roughly the same location on the site.  This will allow scope for future development on the Lane Cove Aquatic site. This might include much needed local sporting amenities like a basketball court or a hydrotherapy pool.

Lane Cove Council has further noted they will take into account the following:

  • New sustainability measures for both the Pool and the Grandstand – including solar installations and pumps and motors with variable speed drive pumps;
  • Addition of an additional lane for greater capacity;
  • Assessment of the placement of new plant rooms and possibly the relocation of toilet and change facilities;
  • Assessment of new starting blocks and timing equipment for the Pool;and
  • Purchase of new filtration equipment for the Pool.

Grandstand Update

The Grandstand is heavily used by school children from Lane Cove and more broadly.  One of the attractions of the Centre is that there is a Grandstand for school carnivals.

Seven of the lower levels of the grandstand can still be used for carnival seating, with seating for approximately 300 children. A temporary grandstand with a capacity of 300 seats has been erected which will stay in place until mid-March 2019. (see our cover photo).

Synergy Youth Centre

Synergy Youth Centre is located under the grandstand (entrance via Little Street).  It will stay in this location until the Grandstand is completely demolished and will be temporarily relocated, potentially to the old Centre House cottage.

Will Lane Cove Residents Be Able to Comment on the Design?

A development of this nature would normally have a Development Application (DA) lodged.  This would allow Lane Cove residents to submit their comments on the proposal,  Lane Cove Council also usually request public feedback by a Have Your Say request. Given the fast tracking of the project and the need to have a new 50m Pool constructed as soon as possible, it looks like the Council will not be able to have an extensive consultation period.  As mentioned above, Council has committed to meeting with key stake holders (like the Lane Cove Swim Club who use the pool frequently).

Lane Cove Council have summarised their position as follows:

Council is working to fast-track the replacement of the Grandstand and the 50 Metre Pool. It will use the combined services of two architectural firms, Team 2 for the Grandstand and Liquid Blu for the 50 metre Pool to produce an integrated design, which will have regard to feedback from key stakeholders.

When Will Works be Completed on the New 50m Pool?

At this stage, a date for the completion of the new pool has not been set.  In fact, a project timetable has not been developed due to the key elements of  design, approvals, procurement, demolition, construction and commissioning still to be finalised.  ITC knows that many people will be keen to swim in a 50m Pool in summer 2019/2020 – that may or may not happen.

ITC will let you know more about the specific plans when they become available from Lane Cove Council.

Do you have fond memories of the Lane Cove Pool?  Post pictures on our facebook page or instagram page with the #lanecovepool


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