Pool plea falls on deaf ears

Taelor PeluseyBusselton Dunsborough Times
Residents say a pool is needed to support Dunsborough's growing population.
Camera IconResidents say a pool is needed to support Dunsborough's growing population. Credit: Taelor Pelusey/Taelor Pelusey

Dunsborough is experiencing a renewed push for a swimming pool, with a petition circulating and residents rallying.

Resident-driven campaigning for a pool has waxed and waned over several years, but swimming instructor Maritia Lightfoot said the appetite for it had persisted.

Ms Lightfoot said Dunsborough’s population was growing quickly and Geographe Bay, while beautiful, was not always suitable.

“The Dunsborough Primary School do their swimming lessons here, I’ve taught here, and when it’s windy and horrible, you can’t teach; you can’t swim,” she said.

“The (shark) net’s only up about six months of the year ... so it’s not a substitute.”

Another campaigner told the Times momentum was growing and residents wanted the City of Busselton to “spend our rates on the infrastructure that we need”.

The City has long maintained residents can travel to use Busselton’s pool.

However, the Times understands Busselton is already struggling to meet demand.

Ms Lightfoot said many of the people who needed the pool — the elderly, disabled and children — were unable to make the one-hour round trip.

Sports Minister Mick Murray has previously stressed that State Government funding decisions are guided by local government priorities.

Vasse MLA Libby Mettam echoed the minister’s comments, saying it was “the decision of the City of Busselton to prioritise such facilities”.

The City’s community and commercial services director Naomi Searle said pools were “enormously expensive assets” and a “significant burden on ratepayers”.

She said a pool would remain a “future consideration” but the population would need to increase three or four-fold before it would be financially viable.

“Given Dunsborough residents are only required to travel 15-20 minutes to their nearest pool and compare this with other regional and metropolitan councils, this time is very reasonable,” she said.

“The City is, however, undertaking a Sport and Recreation Facilities Strategy which will look to address the range of sport and recreation spaces within the district and what may be required to support the current and future needs of the community.”

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