WARMING UP: Gympie Regional Council is going to spend the next 12 months finding out if the aquatic centre's indoor pool will meet the region's demand for a warm water facility.
WARMING UP: Gympie Regional Council is going to spend the next 12 months finding out if the aquatic centre's indoor pool will meet the region's demand for a warm water facility. Jacob Carson

New $5m pool could be on Gympie Council's cards

GYMPIE Regional Council could be facing a $5 million aquatic decision next year as the fight for a hydrotherapy pool heats up.

The long-debated pool was the topic of the day at this week's council workshop, with councillors told by consultants Otium Planning Group they have 12 months to figure out if the new ARC's 25m pool was suitable.

Although hydrotherapy was the word bandied about, Otium director Jason Leslie said this was not actually what the people wanted.

Aerial view of the Gympie Aquatic Recreation Centre (ARC) with solar panels visible from the roofs.
The aquatic centre could be home to a second heated pool if the current site is not found to meet demand for a warm water facility. Contributed

Instead, Mr Leslie said, the need was actually a warm water pool.

And it really is a difference of degrees.

Where a hydrotherapy pool is heated from 34-38 degrees, a warm water program pool ranges from 30-36 degrees.

RELATED

Mr Leslie said warm water pools were often the most popular at swimming centres, and the council had to find out if the existing 25m pool met the populations' needs.

It was built to serve as one but Mr Leslie said it was being used for "competing water needs”.

"If you run it as a warm water pool all the time you're sacrificing lap runs,” he said.

Aerial view of the Gympie Aquatic Recreation Centre (ARC) with solar panels visible from the roofs.
The aquatic centre. Contributed

The pool was also hampered by its inability to reach the upper end of the scale.

"The 25m pool can't go to 34-36 degrees,” Mr Leslie said.

Constantly changing the pool temperature would also cost more in electricity.

That the outdoor pool closes in winter compounded the challenge.

Mr Leslie said he did not envy ARC manager Belgravia Leisure's impending balancing act over the next year in trying to meet the needs of swimmers and warm water enthusiasts.

Aerial view of the Gympie Aquatic Recreation Centre (ARC) with solar panels visible from the roofs.
The aquatic centre's outdoor pool. Contributed

If the 25m pool could not meet demand, the council would have to decide whether it wants to build another one at the centre for a cost of $5 million.

A survey by Otium found most respondents "supported development of a hydrotherapy pool”, and were willing to pay up to $5 per visit.

The draft feasibility and business case is being presented to council at its February 27 meeting.