Old Taree pool site needs a name

GREATER Taree City Council is seeking feedback from the community, as it prepares to give a name to the transformed site of the old Taree Olympic Pool.

The site off River Street, just upstream of the Martin Bridge and opposite Coocumbac Island, has had a total makeover in the last two years and is now being returned to the community as public recreation space - an attractive and useful park with a community stage.

It contains extensive tiered amphitheatre seating (the refurbished old pool grandstand), covered stage, grassed open space, riverside walkway riverbank access, and public art.

It is designated as a public performance and recreation area, and has already hosted its first open-air wedding.

The former riverside pool has remained a community space since the opening of the original pool in 1948. It was closed in 1996 due to the degrading structural integrity of the concrete surrounds, and the new Manning Aquatic Leisure Centre at Taree North ultimately took its place.

Transformation of the old site has been achieved with federal government funding.

Council has suggested three naming options - Bennett Park, Lane 3 Park, and Manning Amphitheatre - and now seeks public input, including any new suggestions which might be put forward.

The three names suggested already are based on three themes - a person’s name (the late Harry Bennett), a reminder of the past (Lane 3 Park), and a name for the future use (Manning Amphitheatre).

As council’s senior leader of strategic planning Richard Pamplin points out: “It is never easy to come up with naming options.

“Firstly, we have Bennett Park named after a man who managed pools in Taree for over 20 years - Harry Bennett. Harry taught so many members of our community how to swim and his name is fondly remembered when people reminisce about the pool.

“The second option reflects the past being Lane 3 Park. Lane 3 was the preferred lane to compete in when racing at the pool and there is a story behind the diving block for lane 3 which is to be restored and placed back in its rightful place.

“The third option represents the future use of the park. Manning Amphitheatre captures the future use of the park as a community stage with an amazing backdrop – the Manning River”.

To register your option by Friday June 1, either:

* email gtaree@gtcc.nsw.gov.au

* tick your preference on a voting slip published in the Manning River Times on Friday May 25 and send to Greater Taree City Council, PO Box 482, Taree 2430; or

* visit www.gtcc.nsw.gov.au and follow the prompts to register your preference; or

* visit your local library or council’s administration centre and fill out a flyer and place in the box provided.

Mr Pamplin added “While council has done its best to come up with naming options, someone may come up with an excellent name.

“We would like to hear any other suggestions and the story behind it. Council will consider any suggestions in making a naming decision”.

The official park opening is to occur in June with a showcase of local talent on the new community stage.

More details, including a confirmed date will be provided over the next couple of weeks.

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