AN AMBITIOUS business case for a $67 million aquatic centre has Tamworth Regional Council's unanimous support.
And, it doesn't mean game over for the existing Tamworth City Olympic Pool site.
It looks like there will be some discussion down the track about the desire to retain the city pool spot for the community to use as a green space or recreational area.
Cr Phil Betts wants the city pool space retained by council, perhaps not as a pool but certainly community-owned.
"We will leave a legacy for generations in years to come," he said.
Councillors pushed the 60-page business case designed to catch the attention of state and federal governments through on Tuesday.
It's not clear whether council will manage the aquatic centre and attached non-negotiable gymnasium or have it done externally.
What was clear was that councillor Juanita Wilson will not see the council go into competition with existing gym owners.
"It’s inappropriate for a government body to be in direct competition with local businesses," she said.
"I’m not against it being there but I’m not in favour of us as a council going in competition with small business in our town.
"There needs to be mechanisms down the track for that to be monitored."
Even if the new pool goes ahead, Tamworth Regional Council will only contribute $10 million, the other $57 million it will need to source from the state and federal government.
A new pool has been a topic of discussion between the council and the community for two decades.
The multi-million dollar project could be open as soon as August 2022 if the funds are locked in by September.
Councillor Mark Rodda is not convinced the funds will be simple to snag.
"The challenge to this will be seeking state and Commonwealth funds in the current political climate," he said.
"So we should be prepared for this to be a longer term plan than we would have liked."
Council would contribute $10 million to the project that would have two 50 metre swimming pools, stands for 500 people and a 15 metre water slide with disabled access.
A cafe, creche, gymnasium and off-street parking is also in the plan.
The business case has largely ruled out refurbishment of Tamworth City Olympic Pool and Scully Park.
The cost to renovate both is $37 million without addition of any new facilities or disabled access.
Tamworth Ratepayers Association vice president David McKinnon went in to bat against the plan for a new aquatic centre.
He believes even the $10 million council contribution to the project is too big for ratepayers to fork out.
"It certainly frightens us," he said.
"The report makes it look like $67 million is the end of the story and it's not, if you see what happened at Manly you will realise these things blow out."
The business case will now be used to attract government funds.