Council pushes ahead with Callan Park swim site
Friday, 16 November 2018
The day residents can once again swim in Iron Cove Bay is one step closer after Councillors voted to confirm the seawall area west of Callan Park Beach as its preferred swim site.
Inner West Council, in partnership with the Parramatta River Catchment Group, identified the site as the ideal candidate to join the four existing swimming sites currently operating along the river.
“The site, which was previously home to the old Leichhardt Baths in the early part of the 20th century, was chosen over nearby Callan Park Beach due to the latter site’s significant Aboriginal and ecological heritage.
Councillor Mark Drury, who is the current Chair of the Parramatta River Catchment Group, welcomed the resolution.
“This is a very positive step. Residents have been asking Council to facilitate a swim site in Iron Cove Bay for years,” he said.
“We have now made a vital step towards establishing such a swimmable site in Callan Park.”
Inner West Mayor Darcy Byrne said Council is pushing ahead with its goal of creating a safe swim site in the area.
“Over the past few months, we have been talking to experts from Sydney Water and UNSW Sydney who have said the water quality around the site is already very good,” he said.
“These world-class water experts believe the site, next to Waterfront Drive Sporting Grounds on the Bay Run, could be made usable as a pool.
“We need to establish scientifically that the site is clean to swim in and then work with the Office of Environment and Heritage and the Parramatta River Catchment Group to make it happen.”
Last July, the Office of Environment and Heritage’s Beachwatch program included this part of Callan Park’s foreshore in its routine water quality monitoring of swimming sites in the lower Parramatta River and Sydney Harbour.
“With Beachwatch collecting and analysing samples from around the site, we will have the necessary data that would give residents the confidence that the water quality at the site is safe for swimming. However, at the current pace of collection, we’ve been told that will take two years to get the required number of samples,” said Cr Drury.
“Therefore, Council also resolved at the last meeting to look at bringing in experts from UNSW to see if we could fast-track water testing at the seawall site.
“At the end of the day, it’s about getting the science right so people have the confidence that the site is so clean that you are able to swim in it,” added Cr Drury.
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