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OpinionSwimming proposal a winner for Belmont

KICKING ALONG: The proposed reconstruction of a lake swimming area at Belmont has created considerable interest.Swimming is a survival skill.

Swimming in Lake Macquarie, similar to swimming in the ocean is a significantly different experience and skill to swimming in the closed environment of a public pool.

Lake Macquarie City Council is considering the installation of a new finger jetty and an enclosed swimming area with eco shark barrier netting in Belmont.

This issue has been kicked along for many years and I want to see people enjoying a swim in the natural environment with peace of mind in Belmont.

Belmont does not have any public pools, with the nearest council owned and operated pools located in Swansea and Charlestown.

If this infrastructure project is successful, it might provide an opportunity to redirect some funding from public pools towards other similar facilities around Lake Macquarie in the future.

It is important to note the significant costs of building, refurbishing and maintaining public pools, as opposed to providing infrastructure that leverages all that is great about the natural environment like this initiative.

By delivering this type of community infrastructure, it provides swimmers with a unique experience that we as a council have not offered in many decades.

There will be no barriers to entry in terms of swimming fees.

The facility will be easily accessible to people from all walks of life through sufficient access to public transport, with numerous bus stops located in Belmont within close proximity to the foreshore.

Advancements in technology will be utilised by providing eco shark barrier netting, which will ensure that there is no damage to the environment.

By providing this crucial infrastructure, swimmers can enjoy the largest salt-water lake in .

This infrastructure enhances all that is great about the natural environment and encourages swimming with peace of mind.

I envisage that Lake Macquarie Council City Council councillors will accept the recommendation by staff in relation to a swimming facility in Belmont.

This includes a new finger jetty and an enclosed netted swimming area (including the eco shark barrier).

Having served on council only for the past five months, I am incredibly proud to be standing with the Mayor, Kay Fraser, and delivering this core infrastructure together with our councillors.

This is a significant new policy direction that Lake Macquarie City Council is taking and, if patronage is high and the facility is well utilised, it could act as a catalyst to provide similar swimming facilities at other locations in Lake Macquarie in the future.

I look forward to donning my bathers in Belmont and I hope that the community will get behind this initiative and make this unique swimming facility part of the fabric of our area.

Some in our community contend that this facility doesn’t go far enough.

They argue that we need to build the ‘Taj Mahal’ of facilities in order for people to start swimming in the lake.

I say to them, put on your bathers once this unique swimming facility is built and together let’s ensure that patronage is high and it is as popular as we all hope it will be.

Together we will deliver this infrastructure to Belmont and make the area everything that it can be.

Adam Shultz, is a councillor on Lake Macquarie City Council (east ward)

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