MORE than 1200 walked through the turnstiles at the official reopening of the Collie Mineworkers Memorial Pool on Sunday, October 11.
The much anticipated facility was completed in time for summer after a $3.6 million restoration project. Colin Holt MLC, Mia Davies MLA, Mick Murray MLA and former member for Collie Hilda Turnbull were some of the dignitaries who attended the opening.
Sport and Recreation Minister Mia Davies said the state government was pleased to support this important community project, which had resulted in the complete refurbishment of the 50-metre swimming pool, new plant buildings and the construction of a new leisure pool.
“The role country swimming pools play in strengthening local communities cannot be underestimated,” Ms Davies said.
“Not only are they great places for people to get active but they are important hubs for people to gather and feel a sense of community and belonging.”
The state government contributed $1m to the project through the Community Sporting and Recreation Facilities Fund and a further $600,000 through Royalties for Regions set aside by the Shire.
The remainder of the funds was raised through the Shire and South West Development Commission.
“Since 2009, the Liberal National Government has spent $136m on community sporting infrastructure through the fund,” Ms Davies said.
“Across the state we have helped support 39 swimming pool developments, replacements or major refurbishments, including the redevelopment at Collie.
“Through Royalties for Regions, the government has also increased support to $32,000 per annum for regional local governments which own and operate an aquatic centre.”
Regional Development Minister Terry Redman said enhancing community pool facilities and services supported greater social and economic benefits in regional communities.
“In regional areas, community pools help people of all ages keep active as well as staying connected to their local community,” Mr Redman said.
“Royalties for Regions is helping to improve important community infrastructure and services so more people can live, work and invest in regional WA.”
Deputy Shire president Glyn Yates described the pool as a significant part of the Collie community.
“The facility is a really important hub in our community, it’s the most significant project we have done in a very long time, it looks magnificent and it will get well used,” he said.
Shire president Wayne Sanford said the pool was sure to become a wonderful asset the community would get great enjoyment from for years to come.
“The past 18 months have been a period in which the council and our community have seen an enormous amount of improvement to the town, and the opening of the Collie Mineworkers Memorial Pool is another link in those improvements.”
During the opening day proceedings Mr Sanford thanked Shire councillors for their hard work in seeing this project through, as well as Collie Preston MLA Mick Murray for his involvement in the refurbishment.
Mr Sanford said decisions regarding the future of the pool were made in conjunction with community consultation.
“Like many pools that were built in regional Western Australia particularly around the 60s, this one was at a point where it really needed some serious consideration as to its future.
“I can recall that this pool and what should be done to it has been the subject of numerous debates.
Out of all this discussion one thing that has always been very clear from our community is that it didn’t want to lose its outdoor Olympic pool.
“Extensive consultation was undertaken and we finally settled on a three-step development of this site and today what you see is the completion of stages one and two.”
Shire of Collie chief executive officer David Blurton said the pool opening was the culmination of 18 months of construction work and funding from a number of sources to revitalise the ageing pool and construct a new leisure pool.
“It was a fantastic day and well attended by some 1200 people throughout the day," he said.
“It was great to see people of all ages enjoying themselves in the new facility."
“The shire would like to thank the community for their patience during construction. It was certainly worth the wait as the quality of the final product is outstanding."
“This continues council’s work which aims to revitalise Collie into a modern, well serviced town which is an attractive place to live and invest.”
South West Development Commission chief executive officer Don Punch said the state government agency was pleased to support the Shire of Collie’s efforts to upgrade the swimming pool complex.
“This is one of a number of terrific projects either recently completed or underway which are increasing the appeal of Collie as a place for families to live,” he said.
“I think that people who haven’t visited the town in a while will be astounded by the transformation that has taken place.”
The pool area is complete with a 50 metre pool, kids leisure playground pool, wheelchair ramp access and landscaped grounds.
Both the Collie Swimming Club and Collie Underwater Hockey Club will train at the new facility.