Corowa Aquatic Centre

By Robert Muir

‘Corowa Aquatic Centre’ is to be the name of Federation Council’s largest single project since council was formed in 2016 following the merger of Corowa and Urana Shires.

At yesterday’s monthly zoom meeting, council unanimously endorsed the Corowa Swimming Pool Advisory Committee’s recommendation on the naming of the new $10.3 million facility at Ball Park.

Council also resolved to work with the pool advisory committee to design an Honour Board but that the process not delay any progress towards the official opening of the new facility, expected to be March 2021.

Decided in May 2019, the facility will include a 50-metre outdoor pool, a 25-metre indoor pool and a splash park. Construction works by Hines Construction Bathurst for a March 2021 are on schedule. 

Council will also consider if the individual swimming pools should be named, including further consultation with the family members of any suggested names and the Corowa Swimming Pool Advisory Committee.

Council’s unanimous decision was on the motion of Crs David Longley and Shaun Whitechurch. 

Deputy Mayor Whitechurch, who is chair of the pool advisory committee comprising 16 members from “a good mix in the community” said many aspects have been “heavily discussed” and that the name “really was quite resounding” for ‘Corowa Aquatic Centre’.

Mayor Pat Bourke said it was great that council was moving along with the name and said he was the site very recently. “It just blew me away. It’s a really amazing project,” he said. 

Five combinations of names for the big new facility were put forward to the committee for consideration, including: Corowa Swim
Centre, Corowa Aquatic Centre, Corowa Swimming Pool Complex, Federation Aquatic Centre and Federation Swim Centre. 

Federation Council’s General Manager Adrian Butler told councillors the option of using the word ‘Regional’ in any combinations of the name was also considered.

“ ‘Corowa Aquatic Centre’ received eight out of 10 votes by committee members,” he said. 

“There was a strong preference for using ‘Corowa’ and ‘Aquatic’ in the name of the facility. The committee felt that using the location ‘Corowa’ is important with marketing the facility. The committee also felt that ‘Aquatic’ was appropriate given the offerings that will be provided at the facility, noting that it is more than just a swim centre.”

Prior to the creation of the new facility, the former aquatic centre was known as the Corowa Swim Centre. Initial and final plans drawn for the new facility titled it the Corowa Aquatic Centre, however this was not formally adopted by council. 

Application will now be made, as required to the Geographical Names Board, to have the name included in mapping and other key areas including online systems. 

“This also informs brand guidelines to support all marketing and communications activities, uniforms and the like,” Mr Butler said.

The possibility of naming the pools after prominent local community members, who have made significant voluntary contributions to swimming in Corowa in past years has been, and will continue to be, considered. 

“The preferred option appeared to be to consider an Honours Board/Wall of Fame, to be established at the facility, and this would also allow further information to those not aware of the significance of the past contributions, as well as allow space for future significant contributions, and even possible high achievements in swimming,” council’s General Manager said.

Cr Gail Law has provided a brief overview of the achievements of two prominent community members who should be considered if council decides to name the individual pools.

She said Gordon Poidevin Snr was the main instigator in building the original Corowa Swimming Pool. He helped raise a lot of money through his involvement with the Lions Club of Corowa. “For many years he taught children to swim (free of charge) and then also had his family involved in the learn-to-swim campaign,” Cr Law said.

“Graeme Phipps was a dedicated swimming trainer and had several of his charges make it to Olympic standard. He spent many hours over many years walking up and down the side of the pool encouraging his swimmers.” 

Mr Butler said the Honours Board/Wall of Fame concept received seven votes by committee members; establishing both an Honours Board and the Individual Naming of pools received two votes by committee members.

“One committee member had no preference. Based on the voting, it is concluded that there is a strong preference for establishing an Honours Board at the facility,” he said.

“There was discussion whether the individual names selected for the two pools would retain their relevance to new generations over the lifespan of the facility. 

“However in any consideration, the achievements of Mr Poidevin Snr and Mr Phipps was recognised by the committee and it was felt that irrespective of if council chooses to name the individual pools, the history behind their achievements needs to be on display and promoted.”