Editorial | Hope sinks for long-promised pool upgrade

GUNNEDAH has waited years for its new outdoor pool. 

And hopes that the multimillion-dollar upgrade will be delivered any time soon seems to be sinking.

User groups are frustrated over the extended delays, with the latest setback taking the estimated completion date from December, 2017, to December, 2018.

Gunnedah Shire Council was forced to re-issue its call for tenders for the project in February this year after initially receiving only one submission when it first went to market last October.

It’s a difficult situation that, unfortunately, seems to have no silver-bullet solution. 

Should council bite the bullet and just forge ahead with the project, given the already-delayed completion date and community frustrations?

Then, no doubt, they’d cop criticism for not duly working through the process, and therefore, not giving ratepayers bang for buck. 

You can certainly see both sides of the coin. Understandably, user groups are annoyed about the lack of clarity over when their long-promised pool will be delivered.

There are a lot of unanswered questions about how the construction – when that actually happens – will impact users. 

How will it affect regular swimming training, learn-to-swim classes, school swimming carnivals? 

Gunnedah Shire Council special projects manager Mike Silver says it’s too early to tell. 

He might be right, but you can see why people are starting to get annoyed.

It remains unclear whether the delivered project will deviate from the planned budget.

Council is now considering two preferred tenders, and it’s anticipated a report will go before them in July. 

Gunnedah Swimming Club president Brian Coombs said the club was looking forward to it happening and hoped that it was “what they say it’s going to be”.

Obviously it is impossible to keep everyone happy all of the time. But it’s important council delivers on its promise of the upgrade. 

The project should be made a priority, and the community informed on any updates along the way. Mr Silver is confident it will be achieved. But he’s right when he says the community wants to see value for money and council needs to live within its means.

Sometimes that takes time.