Phillip Pool to close for the 2021-22 summer season – petition

Please sign the petition at:

https://epetitions.act.gov.au/CurrentEPetition.aspx?PetId=199&lIndex=-1

It requests the Assembly to call upon the Government to:

– provide a grant to fix the Phillip Pool and assist in ensuring it occurs;

– keep the Phillip Pool open until it, or another outdoor pool, is available and open for the people of Woden for the long term.

(Note – this pool is for everyone, not just the residents of Woden)

 

Phillip Pool talking points

ISSUE

  • The Phillip Pool will be closed for the 2021-22 summer season

RECOMMENDATION

  • fix the pool and open it for the 2021-22 season
  • find a long term solution to a 50m pool in Woden, either the Phillip Pool or a new site.

KEY MESSAGES / BENEFITS

Many residents want to keep the 50 year old Phillip Pool open for outdoor swimming and recreation for the whole community. There are many benefits:

  • Safety – learn to swim
  • Recreation facilities connect our growing community and are good for our physical and mental health
    • participation in local activities brings people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds together and cultivates fun, relationships, and inspires a sense of belonging and community pride
    • sporting facilities provide opportunities to build social capital and deliver long-term health and economic benefits
    • bring activity to the centre and supports local small businesses
  • Club swimming use 50m pools for long course training and competitions
  • The Woden Town Centre:
    • is the major social and economic hub in Canberra’s south servicing a large population
    • is centrally located and is accessible by public transport which can reduce our dependency on cars

BACKGROUND

  • The ACT Government owns the Dickson, Manuka, Greenway, Gungahlin and Molonglo pools. The management is contracted out.
  • The Phillip Pool was sold with a 99 year lease in 2008
  • The Phillip Pool:
    • 16 October 1971 – 3 pools opened – the 5om pool, circular paddling pool, and learners’ pool
    • 1979 – leased to Glencora Pty Ltd for 10 years – At the time there were concerns that a public facility was being handed over to the private sector and the tender did not include an ice rink.
    • 1980 – the Ice Skating rink opened
    • 2008 – the pool was leased (sold) for 99 years
  • Woden has already lost pools
    • 2009 – the 50m Oasis pool in Deakin closed because the management was unable to continue operating the facility
    • The pool at the Deakin shops closed

The future of the Phillip Pool has been unsure for many years due to a lack of interest by the Government in finding a long term solution to retain the pool.

LATEST DEVELOPMENTS

  • In 2020 the Molonglo Pool opened; it has been reported that this is Woden’s pool too
  • In 2020 the ACT Government committed to an ice rink in Tuggeranong which undermines the financial viability of the Phillip Swimming and Ice Centre.
    • there is now little incentive for the owners to invest in the pool

LEASE

  • In 2008 the public pool was leased for 99 years
    • The Lessee (Wayne Houghton, Director Glencore, Pty Ltd) pays rent to the ACT Government
    • Purpose – public heated swimming pools, ice skating rink
    • The Lessee shall at all times maintain, repair and keep in repair the premises to the satisfaction of the Authority
    • If the Lessee is in breach of the obligation to maintain and repair the premises the Authority may by notice in writing to the Lessee specifying the repairs and maintenance needed require the Lessee to affect the necessary work in accordance with the notice
    • If the Lessee does not carry out the required work within the time specified by the Authority, the Authority may authorise the work to be done by persons and the work shall be paid by the Lessee
    • Termination – eg unpaid rent for 3 months, land not used for the purpose of the lease unless directed by the Territory, failure to remedy breaches

QUESTIONS FOR MLAs

  • Is the lease a concessional lease?
  • Will you advocate for the ACT Government to enforce the lease condition to maintain the pool and keep it open?
  • Will you advocate for the development of a plan for a long term solution to a 50m pool and other community facilities in Woden?

8 Comments

  1. This pool is accessible and used by so many in and beyond the Woden area. Coming into a new-normal with the Pandemic it is important to have as many outdoor activity venues accessible to people in the warmer months. The availability of the pool will encourage people to spend time outdoors and to help people to regain and manage their physyical and mental health. The spacious nature of the pool and the shade and green space it provides is important to allow more people to safetly spend time there. I and many of my friends and family have been hoping to return to the Phillip Pool for these reasons.

  2. This is incredibly disappointing. Aside from an outdoor pool, there’s also no indoor pool in Woden suitable for lap swimming for adults. The Stromlo Leisure Centre is a 15 minute drive and 30 minute bus ride away from the Woden town centre. Why isn’t the ACT Government interested in rejuvenating the existing facility or building a new one? If the ice rink loses popularity there could be opportunity to build an indoor pool and other facilities (e.g. basketball courts) in its place which would surely get more use (and lighten the load on existing courts which are consistently booked out!)

  3. Have been one of the regular lap swimmers in recent years. Thanks for the memories, John. Yes to all the above. As I see it, the main problem is the economics (public or private) of operating an outdoor pool have shifted hugely in 50 years. Yes, Glencore have obligations (2008), but the context of these obligations was the ability to maintain a viable Ice Rink in the complex. As commitments firm up for a Tuggeranong rink, Glencore’s Woden rink viability fades. The answer is I am afraid a local political one (and not necessarily a party political one). I note it wasn’t a defining local issue in last October’s (2020) election. Wuold it be now? Mmmm..

  4. Looks like the petition is now closed, but the issue doesn’t go away. My 9yo has just started wanting to do lap swimming and we live less than 5 mins drive from Phillip Pool, but have to literally drive past it on our way to Manuka and back. Trying to fit the laps in before school, saving 20+ minutes return driving time would be extremely helpful! So much for the government’s rhetoric on encouraging active lifestyles.

  5. I’ve swimmed there my hole life, since I can remember,so many memories. And it would be so sad to see it close for good! I’d hope to take my daughter to your pool and ring and see the next generation love what I’ve held so close to my heart.

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