THE long wait for a year-round aquatic centre in Tamworth isn’t over just yet.
But mayor Col Murray reckons the overwhelming support from the local swimming community has brought the development closer than ever before.
Tamworth City Swimming Club has reignited the debate in town, calling for action after decades of discussion.
Cr Murray said cost has been the main hurdle to overcome in the years of fruitless activity on the aquatic centre.
“Preliminary estimates would be in excess of $20 million,” he said.
“And it hasn’t had the support from the whole swimming community in the past.”
The mayor has called for Tamworth Regional Council (TRC) director of regional services Peter Resch to hold a workshop with councillors after the country music festival to discuss the aquatic centre.
With community support flooding-in for a new facility, Cr Murray said a project should be “shovel-ready” by the end of this council term in 2020.
A lot needs to happen before then, Cr Murray said, with the sale of the Scully Park and Olympic pools seen “as a prerequisite”.
The swimming club recommended construction should be completed on a new complex by September 2020, in their submission to council last year.
The club said there has been enough time for consideration on the project.
“It has been 30 years since this discussion has taken place, certainly enough time for council to have the needs and wants of the local community to be taken into account and studied,” the club said in a statement.
“Does the city of Tamworth have to wait another 20 years for action around this?”
The club has vowed to continuing lobbying at local, state and federal levels.
In their report to council, the club said swimming was “the most common sporting activity in Australia, with around one in two kids and one in 10 adults regularly taking the plunge”.
The mayor applauded the club’s efforts to date and the agreed an aquatic centre was a facility Tamworth lacked.