Shellharbour ladies left exposed by changeroom building bungle

NO PRUDE: Hetty Allen pauses at the troubling new north-facing entryway. Picture: Angela Thompson
NO PRUDE: Hetty Allen pauses at the troubling new north-facing entryway. Picture: Angela Thompson

Shellharbour swimmers have taken a stand against a building balls-up that has exposed a disconnect between planning and execution – among other things. 

Entry doors to the amenities building at Beverley Whitfield Pool were recently moved from the pool-facing side to the southern (men’s) and northern (women’s) ends.

The change is part of an early stage of $200,000 worth of upgrade works. But in an unintended consequence of the move, passers-by now have a clear view into the women’s changing space.

The new layout also means anyone wanting to use the women’s toilets must walk past the previously tucked-away showers, says regular pool-user, Hetty Allen. 

“I had six people coming through when I was having a shower this morning,” she told the Mercury on Saturday. 

“I was the only one in there. Two ladies, obviously tourists, put their heads in, laughing, looking for the toilets. 

“Because of human nature, people, as they are coming through, they look, and that’s not nice. 

“I’m not a prude and it doesn’t worry me, but it will worry a lot of people. The privacy is altogether gone.”

LISTEN UP: Steve Doyle addresses Cr's Kelly Marsh, John Murray and David Boyle at Saturday's protest. Picture: Robert Peet

LISTEN UP: Steve Doyle addresses Cr's Kelly Marsh, John Murray and David Boyle at Saturday's protest. Picture: Robert Peet

About 60 people gathered at the site on Saturday to protest the plans. 

The work is partly funded by a state government grant secured on the back of an application by the Shellharbour Dolphins. 

The club’s Steve Doyle said the initial design included new lifeguard accommodation to the north of the building, and a shade awning along the building’s pool-facing side. 

But for budgetary and other reasons, the design was altered, so that add-ons are now to be built on the pool-facing side.

RE-JIG: Cr John Murray and Steve Doyle discuss the finer points of the re-design. Picture: Angela Thompson

RE-JIG: Cr John Murray and Steve Doyle discuss the finer points of the re-design. Picture: Angela Thompson

Some residents say this will limit their ability, while in or around the pool, to supervise their children entering and leaving the toilets. 

Councillors Kelly Marsh, David Boyle, Peter Moran and John Murray attended Saturday’s meeting and agreed to call for a halt to the works, when council returns from its Easter break. 

The planning bungle revealed itself only once the works got underway, Cr Murray said. 

“I gave an assurance that I would speak to the general manager on Tuesday morning and ask him to cease work and go back to the drawing board and see if we can deliver a design that meets the needs of the community better,” he said. 

“It will require a little re-jigging, not a complete re-design.”

Councillors were surprised by the turnout at the protest, which fell during the Easter long weekend. Picture: Robert Peet

Councillors were surprised by the turnout at the protest, which fell during the Easter long weekend. Picture: Robert Peet