Sports plan pool row

Jackson Lavell-LeeBusselton 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

The City of Busselton’s 10-year Sport and Recreation Facilities Strategy has been met with criticism and complaints after a resident-driven campaign for a 50m pool was ignored.

The $37 million proposal includes a sports talent hub at Bovell Sports Park, further development of Vasse Playing Fields, a district squash facility at Busselton Golf Club, and development of a community oval in Yalyalup.

Dunsborough’s call for more facilities was heard, with a planned Dunsborough Lakes Sports Park including new indoor courts and infrastructure for soccer and cricket.

The facilities at Dunsborough Playing Fields will be enhanced for the Dunsborough Sharks Football Club, with gym facilities at Naturaliste Community Centre to be developed with potential for a pool in the future.

Despite this comprehensive plan, Dunsborough resident Waveney Eastaugh said the community was disappointed a 50m pool had not been included. “We have a highly active Dunsborough community and believe a 50m pool would be well utilised for all people from toddlers and schoolchildren ... to rehabilitation patients and the elderly,” she said.

“Given we already have two 25m pools in Busselton which are at capacity, it makes sense, particularly when the survey results clearly show that swimming is the fourth-most popular activity ahead of ball sports.”

The strategy proposes redevelopment of the existing 25m indoor pool at the Geographe Leisure Centre.

NCC attendances have increased by 1278 per cent since 2015 as opposed to the GLC’s 12 per cent increase. However, City of Busselton director of community and commercial services Naomi Searle said swimming participation remained steady whereas sports such as soccer, football, basketball, cricket and netball had shown greater growth.

“The participation in swimming activity for children across the district aligns with State participation rates and the level of aquatic facility provision here in the City of Busselton meets recommendations for a municipality of our current size,” she said.

Ms Searle said developing a pool for Dunsborough was “unsustainable” and would require an annual operational subsidy and a “substantial” upfront capital cost, delaying other priorities. Vasse MLA Libby Mettam said GLC was limited in its capacity to accommodate the growing surrounding districts and she would support the investigation of a different site.

“Given the growth in surrounding towns that also use these facilities, I believe there is a clear need to plan a district sporting facility that includes a 50m pool,” she said.

City of Busselton councillors are yet to formally consider the SRFS plan, which is open for community consultation at your say.busselton.wa.gov.au/sport-rec.

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