At the turn of the 20th century, the River Torrens was Adelaide’s premier swimming venue.
- Business SA wants a feasibility study funded into building a pool in the River Torrens.
- Swimming in the River Torrens has been banned for decades
- The project is predicted to cost up to $12 million
The water was clear, families would go there to cool off or catch a fish for dinner and it hosted countless swimming carnivals and events.
It is a scene hard to imagine these days — swimming has been banned in the River Torrens for at least 50 years due to the polluted water.
Business SA wants to see the river returned to its former glory and has called on the next elected state government to fund a feasibility study into building a natural swimming pool adjoining the River Torrens on the edge of Elder Park.
The aim would be to restore the water quality to a standard safe for swimming, and in doing so, attract more locals and tourists to the city during warmer months.
Business SA Chief Executive Martin Haese said the natural pool proposal would boost tourism during summer, when daytime visitation drops as people flock to the beach.
“We would expect local businesses and sporting clubs utilising this scenic location to benefit from the uplift in visibility that this pool would provide,” he said.
“Globally, seaside and riverside swimming pools are already popular.”
Mr Haese said the closest comparable set-up is Cataract Gorge on the edge of Launceston in Tasmania.
“With treated River Torrens water naturally feeding this swimming pool, Adelaide can significantly boost its sustainable credentials by hosting a nation-first sustainable pool on the doorstep of the CBD,” he said.
“A feasibility study will have to be undertaken to verify our assumptions, but the experts we have engaged to scope this proposal are optimistic that this project can be delivered safely and successfully.”
“It is also important that other key stakeholders are engaged, particularly the Kaurna people for whom ‘Karrawirra Parri — River Red Gum Forest’ holds cultural significance.”
The natural pool would be 50 metres in length and fed by a channel direct from the river with multiple layers of treatment, both natural and mechanical.
Business SA has pitched the proposal as costing $10-12 million plus an additional $250,000 per year to provide lifeguards.