Funding to the tune of $1.093 million for Armidale Regional Council’s $1.5 million hydrotherapy pool was announced this morning when council representatives met with the Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall at Monckton Aquatic Centre.
Mr Marshall said council would contribute about $394,000 to build a new, purpose-built hydrotherapy pool that will be accessible to the community all year round.
“I think it will benefit not only people recovering from medical conditions who are referred by medical specialists, [but also] older people in the community, people recovering from sporting injuries and also tourists and visitors to our region,” Mr Marshall said.
“It’s shovel ready and the council has some plans together and has put some of its money on the table.
“It will be put here at the Monckton Centre, which makes sense because all the infrastructure you need to build the pool is already here.
Mr Marshall said he expected construction to begin before the end of this year and to take about a year.
Cr Peter Bailey said council was extremely pleased with the funding.
“It’s been a project we’ve been working on for some time,” he said.
“As you know, the idea is created and then you’ve got to convince your local member (that took about five-minutes), then we have to go through grant applications and fight it through the bureaucracy, and Adam was a significant player in that.”
Cr Bailey said there were a number of options as to where the pool would be built.
“We haven’t decided whether we use the left hand side of the swimming pool, or whether we use a more green-field site,” he said.
“The other thing that I think is of importance is that the hydro-pool at the hospital is shut again. It will be shut for a month, it’s not open on the weekends. When built, we’re going to have a facility open seven days a week practically 365 days a year that the public can use.
“We are the first city in the region to have a public hydrotherapy pool.”
Council service leader for Economic Marketing and Development Greg Lawrence said he had always thought the pool was not only a great opportunity for the local community and also for the people of outlying regions.
“I see this as a “stage-1” going forward. This could be a wellness centre that we could create,” Mr Lawrence said.
“I think we’ve got enough infrastructure here in Armidale to be thinking big picture stuff.
“What are we going to be looking forward in 20 to 30-years time? We need to plan now for that time span.”