New push for Bunbury Back Beach ocean pool

Kate FieldingSouth Western Times
VideoBunbury Beach Pool

Impressive concept designs for an ocean pool in Bunbury have surfaced in the latest push to use the city’s unique basalt quarry to build a “worldwide tourist attraction”.

The designs, which have been put together by two businesses and a Bunbury city councillor and were unveiled at the weekend, have already been shared hundreds of times online and even gone global, according to its makers.

Bunbury Beach Pool Concept.
Camera IconBunbury Beach Pool Concept. Credit: Supplied / Calibre Consulting

Cr Todd Brown will use the concepts to try to persuade the council to put money towards a feasibility study in a bid to get a final decision on the long-standing debate surrounding an ocean pool at Bunbury’s Back Beach once and for all.

“Just to prove it one way or another, I think people of Bunbury would love to have that investigated fully, put it to bed once and for all to say it doesn’t work or it does work,” Cr Brown told the South Western Times.

In what Cr Brown called a community-run campaign, BCE Surveying conducted a ground penetrating survey and Calibre Consulting produced the designs, including a video which has been viewed nearly 30,000 times.

Cr Brown used the ocean pool concept as a focus of his 2017 election campaign, reigniting debate around the issue.

Bunbury Beach Pool Concept.
Camera IconBunbury Beach Pool Concept. Credit: Supplied / Calibre Consulting

While his funding request for a scoping study was knocked back in last year’s council budget, Cr Brown persevered and says what he has since learnt from the site’s history could make the idea easier than anticipated.

Cr Brown said while many believed the quarry was built in the 1900s to mine basalt, it was actually the site for a planned pool.

“They were talking about the same things that we’re talking about today and they’re talking about – how do we get tourists to our city, how do we activate our parkland’s and how do we just build some economic resilience into our economy,” he said.

He said the council of the day started excavating and 20 years later when the pool was nearing completion, the Great Depression hit and the plans “went up in the air”.

Bunbury Beach Pool Concept.
Camera IconBunbury Beach Pool Concept. Credit: Supplied / Calibre Consulting

The quarry pool was sidelined and a new concrete pool was built south of the quarry by the State Government. The ruins of the ocean pool remain at the Back Beach today.

“So it may be as simple – and how crazy would this be – that we just remove the sand from the quarry and we’ve got something like a pool,” Cr Brown said.

“It could be as basic as removing some sand and having exposed cliffs ... or you can go the whole hog.

Bunbury Beach Pool Concept.
Camera IconBunbury Beach Pool Concept. Credit: Supplied / Calibre Consulting

“This (the concept) is just something to grab your attention, grab your imagination and think about.

“We do have something quite unique to Bunbury, which can’t be copied anywhere else in Australia. It’s unique, it’s irreplaceable.

“It’s adjoining the CBD, it’s right in the ocean, it’s within 500m of Victoria Street, you’re talking about a way of activating the CBD – wow.”

Bunbury Beach Pool Concept.
Camera IconBunbury Beach Pool Concept. Credit: Supplied / Calibre Consulting

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