Good news for Walgett residents wanting to keep cool this summer, the local swimming pool will not be decommissioned.
But there's still work to be done before it can be reopened.
The decision not to close the pool permanently comes after back and forth between the Walgett Shire Council and the state government about what can be done to keep the pool open for what's predicted to be a sweltering summer.
Council had moved for Walgett Memorial Swimming Pool to be decommissioned in July due to leaks and a failing sand filtration system that was estimated to cost in excess of $1.7 million to fix.
But in their August 22 meeting, the Walgett Shire Council decided to rescind the motion.
They are now "committed to collaborating closely" with the state government with the "overarching goal" of reopening the pool for the anticipated 2023/24 swimming season.
"Recognising the long-term needs of the community, the Walgett Shire Council is taking comprehensive action by initiating the development of a masterplan for the swimming facilities within the Walgett Shire," council said, announcing the decision.
"To ensure this endeavour aligns with the aspirations of the local community, the Council will be establishing a Community Reference Group [to] guide the formulation of the masterplan."
The Walgett Shire Council is also working with the state to secure funding to facilitate repairs and will initiate a tender process for the selection of a contract operator to oversee the management and operation of the pool.
The Dharriwaa Elders Group, who have been advocating for the pool to be retained and repaired since its decommissioning was announced, said the news was "excellent" but more needs to be done.
They say they will continue to work with other Walgett pool stakeholders to ensure the best outcomes for our community.
"Have they committed to urgent repairs to open in time for October 2023 season start? No. That is only an 'overarching goal'," they said.
"Will they commit to building sustainable pool facilities for the Walgett community into the future? This is not clear."
Elders group director Ricky Townsend has been part of the Walgett swimming club since 1966. He uses the pool for exercise every morning and says it provides a safe place to get fit and for relax with friends.
He said the closure of the pool will have a "big impact" on the community in summer and he hopes it can be re-opened "with urgency".
"People have to realise that it gets well over 48 degrees here and children need a safe place to cool off and play in the summer," he said.
"When it gets hot, it's really hot. The pool is the only way to cool down unless you sit in front of the air conditioner all day.
With energy prices on the rise and our houses not built for Walgett's climate - the pool will be even more important for our children and the whole Walgett community in the coming El Nino summer."
Reading this on mobile web? Download our news app. It's faster, easier to read and we'll send you alerts for breaking news as it happens.Download in the Apple Store or Google Play.