Major funding injection to save Dawn Fraser Pool

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Residents have scored a double win with Inner West Council voting to fast-track the heritage restoration of Dawn Fraser Pool, while also accepting an offer from Telstra to hand over more of its Exchange Building in Balmain to be transformed into a co-working space for local businesses.

In a bid to future-proof historic Dawn Fraser Pool, Councillors backed a plan to commit a further $1.3 million to ensure a thorough heritage restoration of the well-known Sydney landmark.

This comes in addition to the $2.3 million Council had already budgeted for the renovation of the pool. The draft masterplan for the pool estimates that between $4-5 million needs to be invested in order to save the baths.

“This much-loved public pool is in desperate need of rehabilitation. We have once in a generation chance to get the restoration right so that Dawnie will be around for another 100 years,” said Inner West Mayor Darcy Byrne.

“Unsurprisingly, investigations have shown that a proper heritage restoration of the pool, which will genuinely secure its future, will be expensive.

“With a heritage asset as magnificent as this pool, we have to ensure this restoration is done thoroughly and completely. Anything else risks the pool closing its doors,” said Mayor Byrne.

The additional funds for Dawn Fraser Pool have been transferred from the previously proposed demolition of a building at the front of the Telstra Exchange on Darling Street, Balmain. Estimated costs for that project have blown out repeatedly, with Telstra recently threatening to charge ratepayers and additional $300,000 for the demolition of the building.

However, Telstra recently offered an alternative proposal in which they would hand over the building free of charge to Council immediately for public use.

Council has resolved to accept this offer and work with Balmain Rozelle Chamber of Commerce to convert the building into a co-working space for local business owner particularly the thousands of people working from home.

Council will also continue negotiations with Telstra about demolishing the entire Exchange and creating a public square.

“With Telstra now offering the use of this space immediately, Council can convert the building into a co-working space so that residents can use shared offices and hot desks in a creative environment,” said Mayor Byrne.

“It is important that those who live locally have the opportunity to run their businesses locally.

“Attracting people currently working from home to conduct their business on Darling Street can help bring Darling Street to life.”

For further information, please contact John Roper on 9392 5914.

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