IN A BIG boost for the push to build an ocean pool in Ballina, the State Government has dived in with a $50,000 grant for planning reports.
Cr Jeff Johnson, from the Ballina Ocean Pool Committee, said the group was "over the moon” after the announcement of the grant from Nationals Parliamentary Secretary of Northern NSW, Ben Franklin.
The money, given to Ballina Shire Council, will pay for the engineering and environmental reports for the proposed 50m by 25m pool, with the aim of lodging a Development Application by the end of the year.
"This has given us a huge boost to really double our efforts,” Cr Johnson said.
He said "design was the key” for the pool.
The plan is to build a pool with as little ongoing maintenance as possible, and to be self-cleaning so sand does not build up and the sea foam seen on local beaches recently following the flooding also would be washed away.
It was local resident John Wise who took the idea to build an ocean pool at the Shelly Beach rock platform to Cr Johnson about two years ago.
Cr Johnson received support for the idea from Ballina Shire Council and the State Government following a council delegation to Macquarie St.
He said the project had also received support from Southern Cross University through the completion of some initial studies and a design brief, while two Masters students currently are undertaking community consultation.
And local businesses have pledge to donate material and labour to build the pool.
"Ballina Shire Council has not spent a cent,” he said.
The plan is to keep it that way, with the committee hopeful further funds of about $50,000 needed to get the project to DA stage, and some construction costs, will be covered by other grant money.
Cr Johnson said he couldn't see any technical hurdles in work starting on building the pool as soon as late next year or 2019.
He said the pool would be "free to use by the young, the old and everyone in between all year round”.
Cr Johnson had unsuccessfully tried to get State Government money through the NSW Shark Mitigation Strategy funding.