The City of Sydney Is Pushing to Make Sydney Harbour Swimmable with Ocean Pools and Improved Water Quality

City of Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore has proposed an idea to make Sydney Harbour more swimmable, as part of her address at the Sydney Water Innovation Festival earlier this week. During her speech, Moore outlined how government-wide initiatives could be implemented around inner-city waterways to reduce water pollution, thus making these bodies of water swim-friendly for locals and tourists.

While no concrete plans have been set in motion yet, renders supplied by the City of Sydney and created by Andrew Burges Architects show possibilities for new swimming areas — including ocean pools implemented at Beare Park and Pirrama Park. An ambitious infrastructure project at the Glebe Foreshore, featuring a floating aquatic centre on top of the harbour, is also in the mix.

The Beare Park and Pirrama Park concepts would require minimal infrastructure once water quality was at an acceptable level, with swimming areas at Pirrama Park focused on reusing existing infrastructure. The Glebe project, on the other hand, would be a significantly larger undertaking, with the pool sitting on top of a man-made island connected to the foreshore by a footbridge.

Render of Pirrama Park

“Swimming in the harbour is no pipe dream,” Moore said. “Cities around the world are turning to their natural harbour assets rather than building more infrastructure. Copenhagen spent 15 years transforming its harbour from a highly polluted waterway to a swimmer’s paradise where wildlife is thriving.”

The key to introducing swimming to the harbour is cleaning up the waterways, Moore says. Some ways the City of Sydney is already pushing for this is through reducing stormwater pollution entering the harbour and implementing water sensitive urban design. The city council requires support from other sectors of the government in order to convert the harbour into a swimmable body of water.

“This vision rests on improving water quality,” Moore continued. “Being able to swim safely in the harbour is a wonderful symbol of a healthy water ecosystem. If we can clean up the harbour, we will unleash enormous potential for community recreation and wellbeing.”

Render of Beare Park

The Sydney Water Innovation Festival is held on Monday, October 18–Wednesday, October 20. Registration is free.

All images: Andrew Burges Architects supplied by City of Sydney.

Published on October 19, 2021 by Ben Hansen

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