Hines construction secures Memorial Pool tender as suspension bridge goes unfixed

Waterlogged: The suspension bridge connecting Cameron park and Pioneer park has been closed since sustained water damage rendered it unsafe. Photo: Daniel Shirkie
Waterlogged: The suspension bridge connecting Cameron park and Pioneer park has been closed since sustained water damage rendered it unsafe. Photo: Daniel Shirkie

Residents who became frustrated moving between Cameron and Pioneer Parks during the Springfest weekend will have to wait a little longer to see the joining suspension bridge re-opened.

“It will take a hell of a lot of money to fix, we simply don’t have room in the budget to address it right now,” Dubbo Regional Council Mayor Ben Shields said. 

The suspension bridge was closed in September 2016 after flooding of the Bell River caused water damage that rendered the structure unsafe for passage. 

The bridge, which has stood in Wellington connecting the two areas for 35 years, was damaged during flooding that also saw warnings put in place for Wellington’s roads and bridges over two years ago now.

Council issued a notice that the bridge would remain closed until further notice in December that same year, pending review from a fully qualified structural engineer. 

Cr Shields told the Wellington Times that reopening the suspension bridge would require ‘something very special’, such as a cycling or walking track to further complement Pioneer Park’s sporting grounds. 

“We need a bigger masterplan, something to make sure it truly connects the two parks,” Cr Shields said.

Council had previously attempted to secure funding for the bridge’s repair and upkeep through the state government’s Stronger Communities Grant, but those plans didn’t materialize.

While the suspension bridge will remain untouched going into the immediate future, council has awarded the construction tender in the bid to redevelop and overhaul the Memorial Pool.

The tender was awarded to Hines Construction after council reviewed all five applicants.

We have to ensure the pain is more than worth the gain.

Cr. Ben Shields

The pool was closed for the 2018/2019 season and the project is expected to take a full 52 weeks before it’s ready to be reopened. 

“A new pool does mean we’ll have to close for a whole season. We can’t have a pool that’s rusted and in disrepair. This is about the renewal of assets in Wellington,” Cr Shields said.

The revamp of the Memorial Pool is expected to represent an investment of $7.35 million into the Wellington Community. 

Many swimming programs, including those offered by the Wellington Swimming Club, will instead be offered at the Geurie Swimming Pool when it opens on October 13.