A speaker at the June Gunnedah Shire Council meeting brought to councillors’ attention issues regarding the current pool hoist at Gunnedah Memorial Pool.

Julie Frend, representing The Gunnedah Disability Roundtable (via Zoom), raised concerns about the current pool hoist, in hopes to have an upgraded hoist factored into the 2024/25 Operational Plan.

“For many users, the current hoist is not fit for purpose, and does not provide access to the heated pool for the majority of disabled people in Gunnedah,” Ms Frend said.

She explained her son sustained an injury in March this year that stopped him from using the hoist and his mobility has since decreased due to a lack of exercise.

She sought help from NDIS for a new communal hoist but said it was unable to help due to their guidelines.

Her family has met with council staff, the Gunnedah Disability Roundtable group and professionals who support the disabled community and has travelled to test other hoists.

The discoveries were presented to the roundtable on Friday, November 10, 2023, in which the table endorsed a recommendation for a new ‘Pelican’ swimming hoist.

She said the cost of the recommended hoist was $21,500 but costs of a structural engineer report, which would consider possible damage to the pool’s wall for the hoist’s fitting, and the installation costs needed to be considered.

It was confirmed further investigation for those costs is ongoing and reason why the new hoist had not been factored into the 2024/25 Operational Plan.

Ms Frend made the point that the Challenge Swimming Carnival takes place in Gunnedah and brings in 200 participants in the region, with one service coming from Queensland.

“For two years now, my son has sat at the edge of the pool, unable to participate. There would be others in the same circumstance having seen the hoist would not accommodate their needs,” she said. “To minimise delay, we urge council to allocate funds from the 2024/25 operational plan.”

The adoption of the 2024/25 Operational plan and Fees and Charges was carried without factoring in the hoist.

As the mover of the motion, Cr Hooke said that while he sympathised with Ms Frend, he believed there

was nothing to be done at that


“It is something that can be taken up at a later date and I am sure more work will be done in that area to [alleviate] any concerns that she may have that we are not taking her submission seriously, because we are,” he said.

Later in the meeting, Cr McGrath proposed an amendment to the draft Gunnedah Shire disABILITY Inclusion Action Plan 2024-2028 to include the replacement of the pool hoist, stating the cost was “to be confirmed and [with] grants”. Cr McArthur seconded the amendment. The amendment, however, was not carried.

Cr O’Keefe said there was a lot of potential in expediting the pool hoist issue, however, amending “on the fly” was not the way to go about it.

“I just really wanted to put that on the record and indicate that all should not take that as a lack of support for the worthy project,” he said.

“We will do our best to make sure to go forward with this and get funding to improve whatever we can for disabilities for this town.”

To order photos from this page click here