Geraldton pool set for million dollar repairs

Headshot of Lisa Favazzo
Lisa FavazzoGeraldton Guardian
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Lifeguard Ellie Pead and duty supervisor Tenielle Hawke have some fun in the sun next to the outdoor pool.
Camera IconLifeguard Ellie Pead and duty supervisor Tenielle Hawke have some fun in the sun next to the outdoor pool. Credit: Reuben Carder/Geraldton Guardian

As the Aquarena’s outdoor pool nears its 50th birthday, the City of Greater Geraldton has unanimously voted to shift $2.85 million from its reserves for major repairs of the facility, including to improve accessibility.

Mayor Shane Van Styn said the refurbishment would buy the ageing pool another 15 to 20 years, saying the facility in its current state had “passed its used-by date”.

On top of the $2.85 million, the City also received a $750,000 Community Sporting and Recreation Facilities grant from the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries.

The upgrade looks set to include a ramp to help people with disabilities use the pool, with the City recently coming under fire for keeping a damaged accessibility equipment at the facility.

In February, Cornelia McCarthy — who uses a wheelchair — raised concerns about the wheelchair used to bring people in and out of the Aquarena’s hydro-pool.

Cornelia McCarthy uses the hydro-pool at the Geraldton Aquarena.
Camera IconCornelia McCarthy uses the hydro-pool at the Geraldton Aquarena. Credit: Lisa Favazzo/The Geraldton Guardian

She said a broken brake and loose wheel were causing challenges for physically vulnerable people who used the chair.

At the time, chief executive Ross McKim said the City would resolve the safety issue “as soon as possible”, and the 2021-22 budget would fund two new wheelchairs for the facility.

This week, Ms McCarthy reported the front wheel was still loose despite being taken away for maintenance.

“I am so disappointed in the carelessness. I just want to know (I am) using something that is safe,” she said.

In response, a City spokesperson yesterday said no issues with the wheels were identified, but new caster wheels were installed to improve stability anyway.

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