Push to build more Sydney harbourside ocean pools


Push to build more Sydney harbourside ocean pools

Originally published via The Daily Telegraph

Sydney is in desperate need of more outdoor swimming pools to take advantage of our natural wonders of a sparkling harbour, mild sea water temperatures and often sunny skies, but also to minimise the risk of Covid transmission.

City of Sydney Liberal candidate Lyndon Gannon is calling for a series of free netted saltwater pools to be created in Sydney Harbour, which would be far cheaper than digging holes in the round and enclosing pools on land.

In a plan that has the broad support of NSW Planning Minister Rob Stokes, Mr Gannon is calling for harbourside pools to be built at Beare Park, Elizabeth Bay, Marrinawi (Nawi) Cove at Barangaroo, Pirrama Park at Pyrmont and either Rozelle Bay or Blackwattle Bay in Glebe.

Liberal candidate Lyndon Gannon wants to expand the number of ocean pools in the City of Sydney. Picture: Sam Ruttyn

Dawn Fraser Baths in Birchgrove is a good example of an outdoor pool. Picture: AAP/Jordan Shields
Swimmers Kasey and Jackson enjoying the water at Elizabeth Bay. Picture: Sam Ruttyn

“What better way to get local communities together than having a picnic and a dip on a sunny afternoon down on the harbour?” Mr Gannon, a former lifeguard at the recently reopened Dawn Fraser Baths in Balmain, said.

“They will be relatively inexpensive to build and maintenance costs will be low compared with recently opened council facilities.

“The recently opened Gunyama Park pool in Zetland cost $106 million to build and millions per annum to run.

“We can build these four new amazing baths for a fraction of that, and the tides will do the cleaning for us.”

Swimmers Kasey and Jackson enjoying the water at Elizabeth Bay. Picture: Sam Ruttyn

The harbour has a long history of harbour pools, many of which have disappeared but current pools include Balmoral Baths, Murray Rose Beach (Redleaf), and Nielsen Park in Vaucluse.

Canada Bay Council is also planning to build nets at Bayview Park at Concord

“What could be more Australian than stripping down to your cossie or boardies in the summer and diving straight into the harbour?” Mr Stokes said.

“I would love for the public to be able to swim there. In Copenhagen and Paris they open their waterways for the summer – our weather is so good we could do it all year round.”

Balmoral baths.

In Sydney’s west, much of the focus will be on how councils deal with the mid-October reopening of chlorinated swimming pools.

UNSW epidemiologist Professor Marylouise McLaws said there will need to be a combination of rapid antigen testing and double vaccination to make indoor pools safe.

“Kids in primary school can’t get vaccinated because there isn’t yet one developed and they are at risk of infection,” Prof McLaws said.

“Kids 12-15 year olds won’t be offered vaccination until 70 per cent of adults are reached and it will take several months for 12-15 year olds to have their second dose to reach maximum immunity.

“Rapid antigen testing can reduce risk from other kids and parents.”

Canterbury-Bankstown Mayor Khal Asfour hinted there may be a two-tiered system between indoor and outdoor pools, saying “the evidence tells us it’s harder to get it (Covid) outdoors”.