So our children can have a healthier future

Save Epping Pool

2017 Council Elections - 9th September

Locals get to vote for a new City of Parramatta council on 9 September. We asked the candidates for Epping Ward their views on some key issues facing Epping Aquatic Centre.

Epping Pool at Dence Park sits within the new Epping Ward for the City of Parramatta. There are 5 party tickets standing for election and 3 councillor seats to be elected for a 4 year term. You can see more information and ward boundaries here.
Save Epping Pool Group asked the lead candidate for each party ticket the same questions about the pool and how they would act if elected to council. The responses below have not been edited and are in the order in which they were received:

Lindsay Peters – The Greens

Lindsay PetersHave you been a previous councillor?

No

Please give us some information on your work/background

I am a senior software engineer and co-founder of a small Australian company developing knowledge management applications in the health sector. Our family has lived in Epping/Eastwood for over 20 years, my wife is a local GP, and our children have all attended the local schools.

Have you ever used the pool at Dence Park?

Yes, I have been a daily swimmer there for over 20 years (in the periods when it has been open). I also was in the master’s squad until it disbanded a few years ago when the Dence Park pool started closing for the winter months.

What are your thoughts on the current facility, and the surrounding park area?

I think it is a spectacular facility, with stunning 180 degree view of the bush. It’s one of the best in Sydney. The parking is good, the pool chlorine levels are kept lower than other facilities (like Macquarie Uni) that I have to use in winter. The gym facilities however could be improved to attract more users. Also, the pool needs to be kept open all the year so that the squads are not disbanded – as mine was.

Do you think councils should run council aquatic facilities, even if at an annual operating loss?

Absolutely! It’s an important recreational and health service to the community that should not be subject to the commercial goals of private operators. The Dence Park pool was one of the main reasons I moved into the Epping Area over 20 years ago – I’m sure it adds considerably to the desirability and value of this area for residents, and so all residents benefit even if they don’t use the pool much.

What role do you think an aquatic centre at Dence Park has within the new Epping Town Centre?

A vital role in Epping, especially considering the proposed doubling of the population in the next 10 years or so. However, the current location is just fine – it does not need to be relocated closer to the Town Centre.

If elected, will you vote to support the preparation of a masterplan for Dence Park, with a base assumption of a 50 metre pool, and associated plan funding of $5 million (proposed in council's draft S94 plan budget)?

Yes – absolutely. But the pool should still be an outside pool if it needs to be rebuilt, so that we can still take advantage of the superb natural environment that surrounds it.
If elected, will you vote to support allocation of council funds to update/expand the current facility over and above money that can be allocated from S94 contributions?

Yes – absolutely.

Why are you the better choice than the other candidates to create improved public recreation spaces in Epping (like a revitalised swimming pool)?

I can’t really speak for the level of commitment of other candidates. However, I have strongly supported the Save Epping Pool group since it started, and am 100% committed to retaining it. As a member of the Greens, two of our main principles are environmental sustainability and social justice. Hence the protection of bushland, urban tree cover, parks and recreational spaces and activities that are accessible to everyone in the area, regardless of their economic circumstances, are all core Greens values. This is an especially important issue in Epping due to the massive and inappropriate housing developments that are currently going on, and we have seen much of our natural urban bushland, parkland and facilities either already destroyed or under imminent threat of being destroyed.

Lorraine Wearne – Lorraine Wearne Independents

Lorraine WearneLorraine did not reply to the questions asked but supplied the following statement:

My name is Lorraine Wearne. I run my own party Lorraine Wearne Independents in order that I may have electoral equity by way of a named box above the line for voting. I have never been a member of a major party and am entirely self-funded. I do not take donations. I am a Solicitor and run my own business from home. I have been a councilor on Parramatta City Council since 1995.
I have never swum at Dence Park but my daughter who went to Cheltenham Girls School has. I have been there many times and am very pleased that City of Parramatta has repaired and maintained the facility and opened it to the public rather than allowing its deterioration as was happening under Hornsby Council. I believe that the pool and total area surrounding it are invaluable community assets which should be maintained, improved and adapted for community use. There are many uses and lessons to be learned from conservation and use of the bushland area, pool and community building on site. An informed Masterplan is a must.
There is an acknowledged shortfall of open space in Epping and this area must play an important role in providing a partial solution to this. It must stay as public open space and recreation and never be a “developers dream”. Councils run and provide facilities for it’s local community. Many of these facilities do not run at a profit. Theatres, pools, sportsgrounds and meeting rooms and facilities are just a few of these. The provision of services and infrastructure is the role of council, however it is important that ratepayers receive value for their dollars. The increased shortfall of funding requires that council uses innovative and careful measures to manage and balance its budget.
I have been a resident of Epping for over 40 years, I love my area and will do all in my power to ensure that it retains its natural assets such as Dence Park, Boronia Park and Forest Park to mention a few. The centre of Epping is certainly changing and not necessarily for the better. Whilst development at a transport centre has to happen, it is necessary to keep hold of a sense of place. It is time to push back against the excesses that we are seeing. Planning has gone out the window and formal adopted controls seem to mean nothing. It is time to push back. Enough is enough. Do it properly as planned not 10 stories higher on every application.

Donna Davis – Australian Labor Party

Have you been a previous councillor?Donna Davis

No

Please give us some information on your work/background

Donna is a UNSW graduate who has worked in both the public sector and small business, having owned and operated hearing aid clinics in Melbourne and Sydney, with her husband Michael.
Donna has extensive experience working with community and service organisations, sports associations, small business and all levels of government in her work as an electorate officer. She has hands on experience solving problems for local residents and understands the importance of effective communication and consultation with local communities.

Have you ever used the pool at Dence Park?

Yes.

What are your thoughts on the current facility, and the surrounding park area?

I support the upgrade of the current Dence Park swimming centre. The 50 metre pool must be retained and upgraded. The provision of disability access must be a priority and the implementation of a master plan for the surrounding park area and existing facility must be funded and delivered to the community by Parramatta Council.

Do you think councils should run council aquatic facilities, even if at an annual operating loss?

Yes I do believe the aquatic facilities should be operated by council.

What role do you think an aquatic centre at Dence Park has within the new Epping Town Centre?

The NSW Liberal Government imposed an Urban Activation Precinct on the suburb of Epping and now Parramatta Council must work to ensure that there is sufficient open space and recreational facilities to provide for the increased number of residents who will be living in the area but particularly in high density.
The Dence Park facility has a large role to play in providing recreational facilities and green open space for local residents and I am keen to work with the community to ensure the centre reflects what the community wants in terms of swim programs, other recreational activities, passive and active space etc.

If elected, will you vote to support the preparation of a masterplan for Dence Park, with a base assumption of a 50 metre pool, and associated plan funding of $5 million (proposed in council's draft S94 plan budget)?

Yes

If elected, will you vote to support allocation of council funds to update/expand the current facility over and above money that can be allocated from S94 contributions?

Yes

Why are you the better choice than the other candidates to create improved public recreation spaces in Epping (like a revitalised swimming pool)?

I actively fought to save the Parramatta Pool and this demonstrates my commitment to community facilities such as Dence Park swimming pool. Our summers are getting hotter and with the increase in concrete high rise the need for places to "escape" to relax, learn to swim and exercise are paramount. I am committed to this facility and parkland and to working with the community to make Dence Park the jewel in the crown of Epping Ward.

Bill Tyrrell – Liberal Party

Have you been a previous councillor?Bill Tyrrell

No

Please give us some information on your work/background

My family and I moved into the Epping Area in 1973, I went to Epping North Public School, Epping Boys High School, Epping District Scouts, Epping District Cricket. Up until recently my accounting firm was located in Epping and I was vice president of Epping Chamber of Commerce.

Have you ever used the pool at Dence Park?

I learnt to swim at Dence Park and spent a number of summers swimming at the pool 

What are your thoughts on the current facility, and the surrounding park area?

Current:

  1. Dence Park must stay as a 50-metre swimming pool, with the required maintenance. The filtration system for the pool dates back to the 1950’s and needs to be replaced and council should allow for this as part of upkeep. 
  2. The bushland park, mountain biking track, and BBQ facilities need to be cleaned up and reopened 3. The existing community centre is well used and is basically self-maintained by a committee and should continue providing community programs.

New:

  1. Council should explore, building a multi-story car park (where left hand carpark), down to pool level, with the top level being a 25 metre learn to swim/hydro therapy facility, with gym and child care facility. The bottom floor of the carpark to allow easy access to the existing swimming pool.
  2. Child care facility to encourage parents who work in Epping to take their children to the child care facility and leave their car at the carpark and catch the bus, to reduce parking demands in Epping CBD
  3. Old Bowling Club site - Council should explore the feasibility of design and construction of a Chinese Garden to cater for the growing Chinese Community
  4. The site should be explored for skate park and youth facilities
  5. Council should also consider rebuilding the current building with new amenities, multi-purpose facilities, including indoor basketball and indoor soccer as well as cafe overlooking the pool.

Do you think councils should run council aquatic facilities, even if at an annual operating loss?

Council can run pool facilities at a loss but should explore other profit making facilities to offset some of the loss but to make sure the site is fully utilised.

What role do you think an aquatic centre at Dence Park has within the new Epping Town Centre?

The pool plays a major part of the Live, Work and Play that I advocate within Epping, and being at 1.4 km from Epping CBD, it is not too far from Epping CBD that properly designed facilities will benefit the community.

If elected, will you vote to support the preparation of a masterplan for Dence Park, with a base assumption of a 50 metre pool, and associated plan funding of $5 million (proposed in council's draft S94 plan budget)?

I will strongly advocate for the pool remaining and the masterplan for Dence Park to be fully expanded to fully utilise the site.

If elected, will you vote to support allocation of council funds to update/expand the current facility over and above money that can be allocated from S94 contributions?

As stated above I will be strongly advocating for this to occur with council.

Why are you the better choice than the other candidates to create improved public recreation spaces in Epping (like a revitalised swimming services at Dence Park)?

I understand the Epping community and I am determined to see the neglect of Epping be rectified so that the constituents of Epping no longer feel ignored or neglected especially by Hornsby Council. The constituents need to remember that Hornsby Council kept 75c in every dollar of s94 from Epping and invested it into Hornsby and NOT into Epping. Much has been made of Hornsby council wanting Epping back because they can’t balance their books. Well the question I ask every constituent of Epping, what is the net benefit of constituents staying or leaving City of Parramatta and going back to Hornsby Council. My answer to that is simple, Hornsby had their chance and all they did was milked 75c out of every dollar of sec 94 from Epping. Hornsby had their chance and did wrong by the people of Epping. Labor has already stated that they will pump all Sec 94 into Parramatta CBD at the expense of all other constituents. The City of Parramatta has already stepped up and shown that they look after their own constituents. Only a City of Parramatta Council under Liberal control can get Epping back on track and get the facilities the communities need.

Donna Wang – the Local Independent Party

No response received to date.

 

 

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