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MEDIA RELEASE - Portland pool slide dismantled

15 November 2019

Portland’s Leisure and Aquatic Centre outdoor swimming pool slide has been dismantled and removed this week due to ongoing major safety concerns.

The 25-year-old slide, which was originally sourced from Bendigo, has been out of use for almost 18 months after an audit showed it failed to reach current safety standards.

The report by Aquatic One Service, safety and technical pool audit specialists, stated the pool depth was too shallow, making it non-compliant against Australian Standards, under the Amusement Devises regulation.

Director of Assets and Infrastructure Rob Alexander said since that report card council had been actively investigating options to fix the issues and return it to community use.

“Portland’s slide, which is believed to be more than 30 years old, was once an iconic piece of infrastructure. Whilst it was once a major tourist attraction, time has passed and major investment is required to completely rebuild the infrastructure,” he said.

“Council has worked tirelessly investigating whether the slide could be modified to meet current compliance standards, but advice from expert consultants has indicated that whilst modifications to the slide would lower risk, it would still not meet current Australian standards.

“Furthermore, the cost of any potential modification would be substantial, given the pool depth needs to be increased, on top of costly repairs to rusted elements such as the slide starter tower. Elements like the lane way ropes, circulation pump and signage also all need to be updated. This is on top of the need for additional staff to supervise slide use which comes at huge expense to the YMCA.

“Council has been rigorous in its maintenance to the slide over the years, to lower the risk of rust and other disrepair, but this is difficult due to the age of the infrastructure and the geography of being in a seaside location.

“Whilst it is sad to see this iconic piece of infrastructure taken down, it has served its purpose well, entertaining generations of young people over the years and we look forward to seeing new innovative activities take its place in the future.”

Mr Alexander said the YMCA had received no formal complaints since shutting down the slide in 2018.

He said a blow-up slide had been offered during the warmer months, with associated pool toys.

“Whilst this piece of the past is moving on, council is looking to the future with a study underway to revitalise the aquatic centre with a major redevelopment to serve our community well into the future,” Mr Alexander said.

“A multi-purpose recreation space, featuring a number of partnerships with local sporting associations, is earmarked to cater for growing recreational activities in Portland and the broader shire. Council is taking a strategic and considered approach to this redevelopment to ensure community expectations are met and government investment attracted.”

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