Community rally held at Parramatta Pool

Wet weather couldn’t dampen public passion for Parramatta Pool and the nearby heritage precinct at a community rally on Sunday.

While the soaking forced the cancellation of a march, more than 100 people kept dry at Parramatta War Memorial Pool to voice their opposition to the state government’s plans to relocate the pool for the stadium redevelopment and build units close to the historic Fleet Street heritage precinct.

1984 Los Angeles Olympic 100 metre freestyle finalist and dual Commonwealth Games silver medallist Angela Harris has been swimming at the pool since the former Queenslander moved to North Rocks with her young family 12 years ago.

She described plans to demolish a war memorial pool as disgraceful.

“We enjoy the freedom we do today because of the men and women who sacrificed their lives for this country,” she said.

“We need this facility for our children, especially if they’re bringing a lot of people into the area and building Australia’s next great city.”

Politicians in attendance included state opposition leader Luke Foley, shadow ministers Michael Daley and Penny Sharpe, Greens MP Jamie Parker, Granville MP Julia Finn and Liberal Parramatta MP Geoff Lee.

The Save Our Powerhouse group travelled from the city to show their support.

Federal Parramatta MP Julie Owens announced a commitment to getting the Parramatta Female Factory and surrounding heritage buildings onto the National Heritage Register if Labor wins the July 2 election.

“We need to give it the recognition it deserves,” she told the crowd.

Afterwards, Mr Lee expressed his disappointment of being denied the opportunity to address the rally

“To say they’re not political and tell everyone to not vote for Liberals and then not let me speak is a travesty,” he told the Sun.

“I want to hear people’s voices and am happy to meet and talk with anyone.”

He reiterated that the redeveloped stadium will remain a public asset.

Mr Lee’s preferred option is to keep the pool where it is and has organised recent meetings between the pool committee and infrastructure minister Andrew Constance.

“No decision has been made but it’s becoming increasingly unlikely it can stay here,” he said.

More in this Thursday’s edition of the Parramatta Holroyd Sun.