Memorial pool community reference group dissolved

Council has today voted to formally dissolve a community reference group set up to inform plans for redevelopment of the Mackay Memorial Swimming Centre.

The group was established in January 2020, but six months later council was advised that the entire swimming centre site had been listed on the Queensland Heritage Register.

Chair of the Memorial Swimming Centre Community Reference Group, Deputy Mayor Karen May, said that State Heritage listing limited council’s ability to undertake significant redevelopment.

“This has impacted the role of the community reference group to the point where it is considered no longer required,’’ Cr May said.

“The terms of reference of the group states that its aim is to represent broad community views on plans for redevelopment of the Memorial Swimming Centre site.

“It was established to provide council with input into redevelopment plans in keeping with community needs and the most efficient use of public funds and resources.

“Council is committed to maintaining the Memorial Swimming Centre to its current standard for the community and will continue to work with the operator to ensure the provision of this service.

“But the State Heritage listing means there is little likelihood of redevelopment and that means we no longer need a community reference group to inform us on those plans.”

A report considered by today’s ordinary meeting said the heritage-listing advice was received from the Queensland Heritage Council in July last year.

Consultation was then held with the Department of Environment and Science (DES) to ascertain the implications on future maintenance and redevelopment of the site.

Operationally, there has been little change and routine maintenance continues to be undertaken. However, for any significant improvements or repairs, additional steps are now required.

This includes formal approvals from DES and detailed assessments of considerations, such as community usage, heritage preservation and potential impact to heritage values.

This will likely result in an increase in costs to ratepayers and extended timeframes in the planning for any future works.