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To Save a Pool in Ross
Kim Peart
Convenor ~
Central Midlands Heritage, Arts & Landcare

After investing in an upgrade of the Campbell Town swimming pool, ten kilometres north of Ross, the Northern Midlands Council decided to close the Ross Pool. 

Northern Midlands Council Meeting of 18 May 2020 ~ pages 905-909
Further cementing the decision, the Councillors are looking at covering the Campbell Town pool, so it can be used all year round.
The transcript of the Zoom Council meeting is included below. 
Residents of Ross have supported a petition to keep the Ross Pool open, and a number of Tasmanian politicians have taken an interest in the case.

The Council has now decided reverse tack, allow the Ross Pool to continue in service, and run community consultation about all the pools in the municipality, with a statement issues in a media release, which is included below.
I wonder if the long-term role of the Ross Pool is to connect with the heritage of Ross and the visitor experience in the town.

I explore this in brief in a notice posted near the pool, and include the text here.

Ross  Pool  and  Heritage  Parklands

Should the public land west of the Ross Pool and running over the hill to the Macquarie River, now walked upon by many people who explore the old stables and go to the Uniting Church, be declared a heritage parkland and given a name? The Ross Pool would be part of the park, and should a café be added, this would serve visitors to the Ross Bridge, and folk who explore the Ross Museum, located through the wall in the Tasmanian Wool Centre. The old Ross Clinic, which is a public building on the same land as the Ross Pool, could be used as an interpretation centre for the art of the Ross Bridge, and other community uses. The heritage parklands around the Ross Pool and the Uniting Church directly connect with ten kilometres and 100 acres of unmade public road reserves in Ross, which anyone can walk on now, south along the Macquarie River and all around Ross. The Walk Around Ross could begin at the Ross Bridge and return to the Ross Pool café, if this is added, where folk could also look in on the Ross Museum, and even have a dip in the pool. In the light of its role in the heritage landscape of Ross, the pool could gain a roof, be beautified and be used all year round, and at night. A car park for the pool would need to be developed off Bridge Street, where the main entrance would be seen. The children’s play area could be relocated to public land above the Ross Pool, and made more interesting. As the grounds of the Uniting Church are now open to the public, as is the church, these grounds may also be included in the heritage parkland, with views for picnics across the heritage landscape of the Macquarie River, and over to the Ross Bridge. Would you like to see this happen? Would you like to help make it happen? This approach is the best way to secure the long-term future of the Ross Pool.

                  Contact ~ Kim Peart ~ kimpeart@iinet.net.au

                         Central Midlands Heritage, Arts & Landcare

If there is to be another National Heritage application for the Ross Bridge, the surrounding public lands will need to be improved, and given character. The heritage parklands would be an ideal location for an interpretation installation for the Ross Bridge, along the lines of 42 Degrees South next to the Town Hall.

If there is support for this approach, those interested can work toward making it happen, and seek political support and funding.

The public land already exists, so we have a head start.

We can seek to have a Master Plan drawn up for the heritage parklands, and the wide unmade road reserves around Ross, which extend for ten kilometres, cover a hundred acres, and are all public land (see the chart below).

The Walk Around Ross could become a major feature for visitors to Ross, and a health benefit for denizens of the town.

An education package could be developed for school groups to visit Ross, discover the history of the town, look over the farm lands, and include a swim in the pool.

Adding the Ross Pool to the heritage experience in Ross will lift patronage, as will adding a car park and creating an obvious entrance from Bridge Street.

Ross resident Jennifer Bolton stands by the sign near the Ross Pool, seen in the background, raising the proposal for a heritage park west of the pool and around the hill.

TRANSCRIPT: Northern Midlands Council Meeting
Monday 18 May 2020
Audio recording ~ Part 3 ~ 11:40 ~

KNOWLES: Gov 13 Municipal Swimming Pools

JENNINGS: Well Madame Mayor I don’t think I can add anything more to what’s there. I’m happy to respond to questions. Cr Goss sought some additional information today which was Emailed out. He asked a question about the actual gate and kiosk takings and we have provided that and those that haven’t I can read it out here if you wish in regards to those monthly (inaudible) that have actually been received at all those sites. Has everyone got that information? (unknown - figures were not read out)

POLLEY: I, for general discussion in the moment …..

KNOWLES: Are you moving to discuss?

POLLEY: I’m moving to discuss, (inaudible) moving to discuss.

KNOWLES: Can I have a seconder?

CALVERT: I second that.

KNOWLES: Cr Calvert, all those in favour.


KNOWLES: Against? Carried (unanimously)

POLLEY: Right, the situation is this, we have two swimming pools in the southern part of the municipality and we, and we have one in the northern part of the municipality. If you live in Perth and you live at Longford they don’t have any, so people have got to go to Cressy, which I accept, and the people have accepted that. I just don’t believe that if we want to do things at Perth and advance Perth and (inaudible) in those areas, that we can afford to spend $1.1 million on upgrading Ross, when you have just up the road a swimming pool at the high school. You know, historically (inaudible), I think 60 or 70 years ago I can understand that. I can also, we can look at having a discussion with the community, I think we should have a discussion with the community, I think we should have a discussion and we should be quite frank about it, because we cannot go on funding something that’s not getting the use, when you have one up the road. You can provide if need be a bus to take people up there. We had to face this issue eventually, and certainly it’s getting half a million, that’s half a million we could spend on the (inaudible) river (inaudible) at Perth. And the people of Perth, and Longford, and Evandale could justifiably say, how are you going to spend down there when they’ve already got two, and not one. And I believe Cressy should be maintained and upgraded, Campbell Town. And you know I don’t know that at this time with the money and we're not lifting any rates this year, we don’t know how much more we’re going to have to help into the next year when you have to go and say that nationally we may not be able to go overseas until 2023, I just don’t believe that we can commit ourselves with the money we’ve got (inaudible) discussion (inaudible) let the thing just drift on, or come to a way to minimise what we can do to it, but I think we are going to have to face this eventually. We cannot justify spending 1.1 million dollars on a swimming pool that has not got the use that it used to have. There’s no school there anymore, and that money would be better spent on something else, and certainly on other areas. So that’s; I just want to put that forward as a view (inaudible).

KNOWLES: Cr Goninon

GONINON: I’ll move the recommendation, that is A., but I don’t know whether that probably is worded quite correctly. I’d probably like to see that the Council consult the Ross community on the future of the Ross swimming pool. I don’t think you should be consulting whether renovations and things, but I think you should be consulting on the disposal of the Ross swimming pool.

KNOWLES: Do I have a seconder? Seconded by Cr Brooks.

GONINON: And in moving that motion I think Cr Polley said most of the things that I would have said. Let’s do one thing and one thing correct, you know make the Campbell Town swimming pool the place to spend the money on that. $1.1 million on this swimming pool is just a start; you’ve got ongoing expenditure there every year. Sometimes they’re saying there are more lifesavers there than there are swimmers, so I just don’t see that it’s justified, and whilst we’ve got some challenges this year with the pandemic, having been on Council for a number of years, there’s always financial issues that we’ve got, and it won’t be the last, so I think we need to rationalise and do (inaudible) Cressy and Campbell Town, and cut the Ross Pool out.

KNOWLES: Cr Calvert

CALVERT: Totally agree. I think the days of the Ross pool are behind us; we can’t justify that. I’d like to see if the decision is made down the track to sell the Ross Pool and surrounds, then the money for that, that’s received, should go toward the completion of the Village Green in Ross, cause that’s just sitting there. It’s gotta, you know, we need to get that finished. I’d like to down the track, I’d like to see us consider making the Campbell Town pool an indoor pool, and there’s been some preliminary numbers done around that. To me that would provide a facility that would really enhance that sporting facility in Campbell Town, and would make it usable 24/7 almost, and would be a real benefit to the municipality. 

INTERJECTION: That’s a good idea.

CALVERT: It makes the whole facility quite marketable. Anyway, that’s something to look at down the track. I think Ross people, with something like that would actually (inaudible) receptive to that idea.

JENNINGS: Madame Mayor, I just need to make a further comment, and I don’t know if all the elected members received, but there was actually Wendy and Tim Dyer wrote to Council, and that has been distributed to all Councillors. They were obviously very supportive of keeping the pool. They also made it quite clear in their, in one of their paragraphs, that they didn’t support all the suggested expenditure. They indicated about the fundraising they do, and just they consider it a very important site. Just need to make you aware that document was received.

KNOWLES: Cr Lambert

LAMBERT: Well, I had someone try to contact me during our workshop this afternoon from the District Committee to talk about the pool as well, and I haven’t been able to get back to that person so, I think it’s only just starting to filter through now that it’s on the agenda, and could I also just have some clarification; what’s the motion if we are, that’s on board, it’s changed from 


COUNCIL OFFICER: Current motion. The Council consult with the Ross Community on the disposal of the Ross swimming pool.

MULTIPLE VOICES: Not on the “future", on the “disposal”. Make it firm.

DAVIS: I read the note that came from the representers and I must admit when I looked at the paper that came through to us, with car parking and you know, a million other things, while in principle I think we’ll end up going down the path of disposal, I would like to see a basic maintenance budget before we made that decision. Just keeping the pool open and keeping it without leaks, basically. Just so that we can say we’ve looked at the options. So to me it’s not to consult with the object at this point of disposal, it is to consult with an expectation, perhaps further down the track.

KNOWLES: Cr Polley then Cr Goss

POLLEY: The thing that Cr Calvert really hit the nail on the top of the head if you are going to spend $1.1 million, you do to roof it (Campbell Town pool), and those people who wrote today, I read that letter and it’s a good letter, they could hop in their car and drive up to use it all year round. That would be using, spending money more wisely and keeping fit for the whole year. It’s no different to the people of Longford who have to drive to Cressy, or the people of Perth who have to drive through Longford to Cressy. (inaudible) ….. historically had one here, but it’s not here, and I think that what Cr Calvert is saying that that’s probably. At the end of the day I went through closing their school (Ross) as an MP, and it wasn’t pleasant, but at the end of the day they lived with it. And I must say that at the end of the day it didn’t affect the community, got a better outcome by having the kids up at Campbell Town.

KNOWLES: Cr Goss, then Cr Goninon will sum up.

GOSS: Just to the General Manager, thankyou for those figures today, gave us a really good idea about the money they got in last year, or the people through the gate. The only question I was, it included the canteen takings. Could we maybe talk to the pool operators, or the community groups, and could we have a breakdown of people actually, in the future this is, you know, so it’s not mixed up with the gate takings, if we could get entry people coming in, how much that is and so we actually have a good idea, cause that’s got kiosk in there, we don’t know if it’s $200 worth of kiosk, or made $5,000, so I think it would be a good idea if we had that data in the future, and hopefully that. The only thing I can say about the pools I just hope we can get them going again this year, this summer, I just hope we get in the water, and cause I do know what they bring to the communities, you know country communities, and hopefully we can get our kids back in the water this year, and just hope for that. Thank you.

KNOWLES: Cr Goninon

GONINON: Just for Cr Davies’ benefit. There was an extensive report done on this a few years ago, probably before your time, and the report showed there was going to be a need for a lot of work, health and safety issues to be addressed in the future, and each one was a hundred, two hundred thousand dollars, so that report should be kicking about. So it’s not as if this is the first time this has come here. We have considered this over a number of years, and we did count, and look at, and advise the people there that we were looking at the usage of it, and I support you know that we do improve the Campbell Town pool and make, have centres of excellence. If you lived anywhere near Launceston you would still have to go to Windmill swimming pool. There’s not one on every corner there, and no different, people could go from Ross to Campbell Town, and possibly in the future, have a lot better facility there, than us trying to maintain an older pool, pool at Ross. I think the land if sold, or the land retained by the Council, could be used for other benefits for the Council as well, so personally recommend that we go to the community, but highlight it too that we are going to look at disposal of it, so unless some benefactor comes aboard, and wants to take over the running of it, etc., or comes up with some other valid reason, then I say that it probably should go.

KNOWLES: OK, can I put that recommendation?

CALVERT: Just quickly say that the other thing the big change at Ross is the demographics. The population in Ross is a lot older you know. A swimming pool is not as relevant as it was 20 years ago.

KNOWLES: Can I just suggest we deal very gently with the community though, because they put per capita much more effort into fundraising and maintenance their facility than any other group.

UNKNOWN: Need to get benefit out of it.

KNOWLES: OK, I’ll put that recommendation. All those in favour.

CARRIED: Unanimous.

Media Release - Ross Swimming Pool 
Northern Midlands Council
July 01, 2020

Council to develop Swimming Pool Strategy in consultation with community
The Northern Midlands Council will work with the community to prepare a municipal-wide strategy to provide direction for the provision, planning, operating, and funding of swimming pool facilities in the region, it was announced today.

At its meeting on 29 June, Council formally adopted the 2020/2021 Budget, which includes funding to maintain its three municipal pools in Campbell Town, Cressy and Ross.

Mayor Mary Knowles OAM said the Swimming Pool Strategy will be developed in meaningful consultation with the local community. 

“Council is committed to consulting and engaging with the community as an integral stage in the preparation of this strategy, which we hope will provide us clarity and direction around the municipal pools both now and into the future,” Mayor Knowles said.

A petition received by Council on 25 June, and circulated at its June meeting, called for Council to support the Ross Pool to remain open and to consult meaningfully with the community on its future.

“Council has listened to the community and now seeks to determine and understand a way forward,” Mayor Knowles said. 

In the 2018-19 financial year, Council spent $34,563 on the Ross pool, including staff wages and depreciation costs. Council assumes responsibility for chlorination and general cleaning of the pool.

Council has stated previously that recruiting lifeguards to work at the Ross pool has always been difficult and that the number of people who use the swimming pool has dropped considerably in recent years.

Media enquiries:

Mayor Mary Knowles OAM on 0408 766 625

The Ross Pool Master Plan has the driveway entrance running through the neighbouring property of the Uniting Church, and also encroaches onto the land of the Tasmanian Wool Centre. The best approach would be to develop a car park off bridge street, which will also allow service and emergency vehicles to access the pool. There is at present no driveway to the pool, with heavy vehicles driving across the crass by the playground, which will become a mud highway in wet weather. The children's play area could be moved to where the proposed car park is shown on the plan.

The gates of the Uniting Church, for decades the default access for cars and trucks to the Ross Pool, is now chained shut. The chain was added a couple of years ago, when the gates had to be repaired after a vehicle smashed into them.

The old Ross Clinic on the property of the Ross Pool, is a public building, and could serve with the interpretation of the Ross Bridge art, be a history room, a small art centre, and even a community computer room. The Tasmanian Government have made 3-dimensional images of all 186 carvings on the Ross Bridge, and these could be viewed with virtual reality headsets, as well as on computer screens. Historians, artists, students, residents and visitors would be able to explore the art of the Ross Bridge, which is very difficult to do at present. The Ross Clinic could also be a place where a data-base is build of the art on old graves in Tasmania, and this is a huge body of carved work, which may help to understand the carved art of the Ross Bridge.

This map shows the vast swathe of public land west of the Ross Pool, which is a park without a name now, and is screaming for improvements. The Uniting Church grounds are open to the public, and might be included in the development of heritage parklands.

Aerial photo of the heritage parklands west of the Ross Pool.

Panorama over the heritage parklands west of the Ross Pool.

View of the Ross Bridge, the Uniting Church, and the trees of the heritage parkland.

View of the Ross Pool and the Uniting Church.

The convict stables in the heritage parklands west of the Ross Pool.

Among the trees of the heritage parkland looking toward the Ross Bridge.

View across the heritage landscape and the convict garden from among the trees.

Map of the Walk Around Ross, which can begin and return to the Ross Bridge and the heritage parklands.


Ross Swimming Pool Closure
Tasmanian Times, 8 July 2020


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