Claret ash at Wellington Pool to be cut down, pool to open in October

The claret ash at the Wellington Pool Complex that will be removed. Photo: DUBBO REGIONAL COUNCIL =

The claret ash at the Wellington Pool Complex that will be removed. Photo: DUBBO REGIONAL COUNCIL =

A significant tree in the Wellington Pool complex will be cut down, despite objections from the public.

During the redevelopment of the pool it was discovered the claret ash had penetrated the amenities block and change rooms.

Dubbo Regional councillors were initially divided about removing the tree because it was well-loved, however it was discovered keeping the tree could extend the work at the pool for up to six weeks.

Further investigations from two arborists found the tree only had a future lifespan of five years.

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Councillor David Grant said the decision on the tree should probably have been solved six months ago. He said he was disappointed councillors had initially been told the tree could be saved, but supported the decision for it to be removed to ensure the pool opening wasn’t delayed.

Councillor Stephen Lawrence said he didn’t want residents to have to swim in the river.

“It sounds a bit grim but I couldn't help but think there’s kids that are swimming in the river instead of swimming in the pool, and I couldn’t help but think what if something happened down at the river, a tragic thing,” Cr Lawrence said.

“The priority has to be to get that pool open as soon as possible.”

With it’s lifespan coming to an end, there was also a greater risk of the tree loosing limbs, mayor Ben Shields said.

“It would actually be irresponsible for council to actually go down that path of keeping that tree there. We’ve effectively been put on notice that the tree is dangerous,” Cr Shields said.

“This isn’t a tree in a park that’s not used very often. This is a tree that in the summer months each and every day someone would be underneath it.”

Council’s manager for recreation and open space Ian McAlister said a new tree would be planted to replace the Wellington Pool tree.

“A super advanced tree (species yet to be determined) will be planted to replace the claret ash.  It will be planted in a root vault that will allow the root system to grow naturally without encroaching on the heritage façade in the future or jeopardising the pools infrastructure underground,” Mr McAlister said.

The pool redevelopment is on schedule to be completed by October.

In 2016, a structural integrity assessment was undertaken on the Wellington Pool Complex. It found the pool was in poor to very poor condition and was within two years of its life expectancy.

It’s now undergoing a $7.5 million redevelopment.