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Urgent works needed to repair Sydney’s Dawn Fraser Baths

Urgent works needed to repair Sydney’s Dawn Fraser Baths
September 2, 2018

Sydney’s Inner West Council is to undertake urgent works at the harbourside Dawn Fraser Baths after an investigation found the nationally significant heritage site is so rundown it poses a public safety risk.

Inner West Council last week agreed on a plan to spend $6.7 million carrying out “urgent works” after staff warned “the baths may need to close due to major risks of structural failure and flood water inundation impacting sewer and electrical safety”.

Sourcing the funds has seen the Council divert $2.1 million set aside for an indoor sports centre while other projects including a skate facility, town centre works and upgrades at the Ann Cashman and Shields playgrounds could be delayed or axed to help plug the remaining $2.2 million funding shortfall if a grant application to the NSW Government fails.

However, a suggestion by Mayor Darcy Byrne to take $1.1 million from the Balmain Public Square project to help pay for the project was rejected.

The iconic facility, Australia’s oldest amateur swimming pool and water polo club, is, according to Mayor Byrne, “at risk of being condemned in a few years if we don’t do a proper refurbishment.

“Because of sea level rises and the deterioration of the timber, the whole pool needs to be lifted up which is a very expensive exercise.

“The simple fact is if we don’t undertake the works to keep the doors open, within a couple years Dawn Fraser pool will be lost.

Balmain Water Polo Club stalwart and former Olympic gold medallist Bronwyn Smith said the upgrade was imperative to the club competing in the Australian Water Polo League.

Smith told local newspaper the Inner West Courier “we just had 500 members register for the winter competition and by summer that will double.

“We have 20 kids who’ve made it into NSW teams and we are thriving at the moment and Dawn Fraser Pool is our heartland.”

The $9.86 million Dawn Fraser masterplan, which will be placed on public exhibition for 28 days, is part of $56.58 million of pool upgrade works being undertaken by the Council.

The tender process for the Ashfield Pool redevelopment, for which $31 million has been budgeted for, is almost finished

At its 11th September meeting, the Council is due to put the $15.72 million masterplan for the Leichhardt Park Aquatic Centre, where both the 50 metre pool and dive pool are past their life expectancy, out for public comment.

Click here for more information.

Images show the Dawn Fraser Baths.

Related Articles

11th June 2018 - Dawn Fraser appointed Companion of the Order of Australia in Queen’s Birthday Honours list

7th June 2018 - Ashfield Aquatic Centre redevelopment moves forward

25th September 2017 - Ashfield Aquatic Centre redevelopment scheduled for late 2018 completion

23rd June 2017 - Emerton Leisure Centre named NSW aquatic facility of the year

8th December 2016 - Dawn Fraser calls for all Australians to learn to swim

7th October 2016 - Inner West Council backs aquatic centre redevelopments

3rd February 2014 - Aquatic and Recreation Institute gets NSW Government backing for active over 50s program

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