Memorial Baths reopen before Christmas

Janelle Saffin MP has welcomed a soft opening of Lismore's Memorial Baths after a major NSW-Commonwealth funded rebuild following the February 2022 natural disaster.

LISMORE’S popular Memorial Baths have reopened earlier than expected, following months of extensive repairs due to damage caused by the February 2022 natural disaster. (Source Lismore City Council media release).

Lismore City Mayor Steve Krieg said Council had been able to achieve an earlier than anticipated opening of the facility by adopting reduced opening hours and patron capacity, while the facility worked toward becoming fully staffed and operational by January.

“I know many people have been eagerly waiting for the Baths to reopen and it was important to Council to ensure our community had access to the facility over the Christmas holidays,” he said.

“It has been a significant project to bring the facility back online, albeit with an initial period of reduced operating capability.

“I would like to thank everyone who worked hard to open early, and I especially thank the community for their patience.

“Council prioritised the Bath’s rebuild for a summer reopening because we know how important the facility is for the overall health and well-being of our community. It also marks a major milestone in Council’s determination to rebuild our city.

“We will celebrate the Baths being open to full capacity early next year with a free Community Day in late January.”

Member for Lismore, Janelle Saffin, welcomed the opening, saying she was happy to help secure the resources to allow the rebuild and also to support Council in ironing out red tape.

“What a wonderful sign of Lismore’s revival, and a great introduction to summer. The State Government funding for this recognises that recreation facilities are vital to the life of our community,” she said.

“Being able to swim laps, hang out with friends, take the family to the pool, it’s all part of a regular Aussie summer and this helps us feel that life is getting back to normal.”

Federal Member for Page, Kevin Hogan, said he was pleased to see the Memorial Baths officially reopen.

“It has been long time coming. I was very pleased to announce a $36 million joint Government grant towards this project with the City Hall, Library, Art Gallery, Museum and many other Council owned assets given to Lismore City Council for flood repairs,” he said.

“I thank you to all parties who have helped deliver this project in time for Christmas.”

Council’s Manager Active and Liveable Community, Tony Duffy, said all hands were on deck to get the Baths open prior to Christmas.

“We have been busy recruiting and training staff as well as ensuring all the relevant systems and services are online to be able to open,” he said.

“As every business knows, recruiting staff is highly competitive at the moment and finding people with the skills required to run a facility like this safely and professionally has come with challenges.

“We anticipate we will be at full operating capability by January but in the meantime, we knew the community would value having the facility open before Christmas, even at reduced hours.”

The Baths will be open 7 days a week from 11am to 5pm with a maximum of 150 people at any one time to ensure the safety of swimmers. The facility will be closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

No inflatables will be available until the facility is fully staffed.

Mr Duffy said: “We have managed to employ a small number of people who we have trained as lifesavers, with more starting in the New Year, but we know how desperately people want a swim so we decided to open before all staff are in place.”

“As more staff come on board and are trained over December, we will also expand the offerings from the kiosk, which will initially only sell a limited range of snacks, drinks and ice creams.

“I would like to thank Council’s Managing Contractor, Bennett Constructions, for the work they put into getting the pool ready for summer, it really was a herculean effort.”

During the $5 million repair work, all pools were drained and cleaned, bathroom amenities, including showers, were restored, and damaged roofing, ceiling and solar panels replaced.

The works were funded under the Australian and State government’s Community Local Infrastructure Recovery Package.

COOLING OFF: Janelle Saffin MP takes a dip in the pool after the ribbon cutting ceremony.