Olympic swimmer Stephanie Rice with Gogango pupils. Hopes are high the new heated pool will help to uncover high achievers.
Olympic swimmer Stephanie Rice with Gogango pupils. Hopes are high the new heated pool will help to uncover high achievers.

$100k a year for heating pool

IT will cost $100,000 a year to heat Rockhampton's new Olympic-sized, 10-lane swimming pool.

Water in the championship standard pool will be kept at a constant 28 C all year raising the prospect for swimmers of a warming dip on a cold winter's morning.

Cr Cherie Rutherford, who chairs the council's sports and recreation committee, said she thought people might think it ridiculous that the pool had to be heated all year round in a tropical climate.

However, Mayor Brad Carter said that to be suitable for FINA competitions it had to be a compliant temperature and that meant consistency all year round.

FINA is the world governing body for swimming and the new pool will be the only compliant facility in Queensland outside Brisbane, making it ideal for training elite swimmers and attracting the highest standard competitions.

“It will use the most cost-effective heating system. All the options were considered, including solar, but a heat exchange was chosen after we engaged experts to advise us. I am assured it is one of the greenest forms of energy,” Cr Carter said.

Nine companies submitted tenders for the construction contract, which went to Brisbane-based Hutchinson Builders, the state's largest privately owned construction company.

Cr Carter said fierce competition for the contract had delivered a great deal and the contract was under the target.

Cr Rutherford said although the council had not yet discussed public admission costs to the redeveloped Southside pool, she believed prices must be kept low so they were affordable for families with children.

It currently costs $4.20 a session for adults, but the pool closes from late April until September 1.

“It's no use having excellent facilities that people can't afford to use,” she said.

“I certainly wouldn't like to see it priced out of the use of ordinary people and swimming clubs.

“People are not used to swimming in winter in the region, but this has been talked about for years and it is desperately needed.”



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