Docklands could be getting a swimming pool

Docklands could be getting a swimming pool
Sean Car

After not-for-profit group Yarra Pools failed in its bid to establish a swimming pool as part of the Lord Mayor’s Greenline project on the north bank of the Yarra, Docklands has emerged as the most likely suitor.

Having pushed the project since 2016, the City of Melbourne’s decision to not progress with a swimmable pool in the turning basin at Enterprize Park was a major blow for Yarra Pools following years of campaigning and advocacy.

While the group’s president Felicity Watson expressed her disappointment with the decision, stating Yarra Pools still hadn’t been provided with a detailed response explaining the council’s reasoning, the project could now be given new life in Docklands.

Ms Watson has reiterated that Yarra Pools’ purpose “towards a swimmable Yarra” was not confined to Northbank and the City of Melbourne’s final Greenline implementation plan alluded to Docklands as potential location.

“That is not to say that a swimming pool(s) in the city’s waterways couldn’t be considered in the future, or in other locations (e.g., Victoria Harbour),” the plan noted.

Docklands News understands that as part of a formal assessment by the council into the Yarra Pools proposal, two Docklands locations – at Bolte West (Yarra’s Edge) and near Ron Barassi Snr Park – delivered stronger feasibility scores for a prospective pool than Enterprize Park.

The City of Melbourne did not respond to questions from Docklands News regarding the basis and indicators upon which these results were measured, but Lord Mayor Sally Capp said the council would continue working with Yarra Pools.

“We’re always willing to consider ideas that will attract more people into the city and create local jobs – and this includes working with Yarra Pools to consider alternative locations going forward,” Cr Capp said.

Ms Watson told Docklands News that Yarra Pools had no knowledge of any process regarding alternative locations in Docklands, which she said was “why we’re calling for [the council’s] feedback into the decision so we can best advocate for that to move forward”.

“We would definitely appreciate a briefing on that detail. When we got a response about our proposal, we did get some verbal feedback and it hasn’t proceeded to formal feedback. We’d love to see the work that has been undertaken and we want to see that done in a public way,” Ms Watson said.

While she said Yarra Pools would await further details from the council, it was “really interested in the potential” for a swimming pool in Docklands.

“There are lots of things about Docklands that would make it suitable, there’s a growing community that has a demand for recreational facilities. The river provides an incredible opportunity to provide that,” she said.

“One of the reasons we think it’s important is to cater for Melbourne’s growing community, and Docklands would benefit from a drawcard to encourage people to visit the precinct. But all of this can benefit from a public discussion about what the future might look like.”

Both the Bolte West Precinct and vacant land abutting Docklands Drive and Ron Barassi Snr Park at NewQuay are under the control of Development Victoria, which didn’t provide comment to Docklands News on the Yarra Pools proposal.

What do you think about a swimming pool in Victoria Harbour? Send in your thoughts to [email protected]

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