11 October 2023

Phillip pool to reopen but Woden still wants its own aquatic centre

| Ian Bushnell
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Phillip pool

Phillip Pool will be back in action this summer. Photo: Phillip Swimming and Ice Skating Centre, Facebook.

Phillip Pool will reopen in November after being closed for the past two summers due to a backlog of maintenance work.

Geocon managing director Nick Georgalis has confirmed in a letter to the Woden Valley Community Council that the outdoor pool complex would open from 1 November through to the end of March.

It will open every day except Christmas Day. Hours will be 6 am to 7 pm Monday to Friday, and 7 am to 6 pm on weekends.

Woden Valley Community Council president Fiona Carrick had written to the construction giant after ongoing speculation about whether the pool would be in action this summer.

In December 2022, Geocon bought the Phillip Swimming & Ice Skating Centre, opposite its massive WOVA development. It is expected to develop the site once the new ice sports facility is built in Tuggeranong.

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The lease will still require a pool but that is expected to be an indoor 25-metre pool as part of any new development.

Ms Carrick welcomed the news that after two years of closure, Woden would again have a pool this summer but called on Geocon to upgrade the amenities around the pool as well.

“We would love to see some investment in the surrounding amenity such as a cafe, some shade sails, bindie-free grass, barbecues and fun stuff for young people,” she said.

But Ms Carrick feared Geocon would have little incentive to spend much on amenities given its long-term development plans.

Ms Carrick, who has campaigned relentlessly for more social amenities in Woden to support its growing population of apartment dwellers, said there would still be a need for a new aquatic centre in the Town Centre.

She said an indoor 25-metre pool, presumably at the bottom of a Geocon residential tower, would not meet the community’s needs.

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“[Building an aquatic centre] shouldn’t be done piecemeal. It should be done in the context of a social infrastructure plan for Woden,” Ms Carrick said.

Despite Sport and Recreation Minister Yvette Berry’s claim that Woden had run out of vacant sites, Ms Carrick said there was still land available for the government to build and own such a facility.

A possible site was the 3-ha piece of land north of the athletics track, which was within walking distance of the interchange.

Mr Carrick suggested an aquatic centre could include a 50-metre indoor pool, a 25-metre outdoor pool, a hydrotherapy pool that Canberra Hospital patients could access and a cafe that would open out to Eddison Park and bring life to that area.

Ms Carrick has previously dismissed suggestions that the new Stromlo Leisure Centre in Wright also catered for Woden, saying the town centres were designed to provide their own social infrastructure.

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I think a Woden indoor sports arena on Ms Carrick’s proposed site would be far more beneficial to the local community than an aquatic centre.

We lost the Woden basketball centre, gymnastics facility and the Woden bowl. I think a large indoor sports centre for things like basketball, gymnastics, judo, badminton, volleyball, etc would be great.

We could, of course, have both

Nick Stevens7:16 am 04 Oct 23

how do you know there are poor people stuck in multi storey monstosities in Woden ?
Have you taken a poll ?

The Stromlo pool is a two hour walk from Woden Town Centre and 40 minutes by bus from the interchange – over an hour from anywhere else in Woden not on the 66 bus route. It’s not even the closest year-round pool to Woden.

15 minutes by bus to both Tuggeranong and civic pools from Woden You can catch the R4

Yes, I know. My point is that Stromlo is not accessible from Woden.

Mary, it is accessible to people from Woden who drive, it’s less accessible by public transport.

But as 2902 suggests, there are other options available to those who rely on public transport.

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