Manly Wonderpool - Good or Bad Idea?
Posted by David Burns | comments 4 Comments | agree_icon Agree (2) | disagree_icon Disgree (0)
Manly Wonderpool - Good or Bad Idea?

The debate to REBUILD or NOT-TO-REBUILD the Manly Cove 'Wonderpool' between the Manly Ferry Wharf & Ocean World in Sydney Harbour is a hot and contentious topic. Is it a Good or Bad Idea, and does it show respect for natural landscape?


The original Manly Cove Wonderpool was first built in 1931, and later destroyed by a 1974 storm.

Manly residents are being asked to decide if they support a new Manly Cove Wonderpool as part of their deliberations leading up to the Manly Council elections to be held on Saturday 8th September 2012. The architectural cartoon shown below is one of the designs that the community is being asked to comment on.

The majority of people make good decisions by looking at the Pros & Cons of a proposal, and having empathy for the opposing view. Support for rebuilding of the proposed Manly Cover Wonderpool seems to be fuelled mainly from a one-sided nostalgic view to recapture reminiscent memories of the past. However, most would agree that we should also consider the role of ratepayers who would be expected to fund the capital cost to construct and maintain the proposed Wonderpool, and if such funding resources would be better directed towards helping local businesses and residents create a better CBD model.

Whether you SUPPORT or DO-NOT-SUPPORT the rebuilding of the proposed Wonderpool, please ask yourself what PRO's & CON's you can acknowledge and be prepared to pay for under this proposal. For your interest, my PRO's & CON's include:


1. ECONOMIC Pros: increased weekend tourist revenues, additional boating egress and fees. Cons: huge capital & maintanence cost to ratepayers, fun park liabilities, reduced residential property values arising from noise and loss of harbour views.

2. SOCIAL Pros: nolstagic benefits, protect swimmers from marine harbour hazards, including boats. Cons: noise, anti-social behaviour, increased litter, obliteration of habour views, continued CBD inbalance servicing weekend tourists.

3. ENVIRONMENTAL Pros: boat access resulting in less anchor damage to seagrass. Cons: puts at risk sensitive marine life, introduces toxic chemical from treated timber structures, additional litter, loss of natural amenity, and the proposed plan is bigger than the original Wonderpool destroyed by the 1974 storm.


With that said, it is important to reduce the burden on sensitive landscapes critical for the promotion of a clean & vibrant Manly. It is also important to maintain Manly's signature drawcards such as open spaces, beaches, national parks, and quality food & retail. And it is equally important that Manly allocates adequate funding towards improving the servicability and alignment between local businesses and residents focusing on affordability, choice, and inclusive access.

Now some may say that rebuilding the proposed Wonderpool could generate extra tourist revenues for Manly. Unfortunately, this doesn't solve the Council's number one issue of aligning local businesses and resident spending, and could be seen as a distraction to detract attention away from the difficult issues. Additional questions that I would like the Wonderpool proponents to answer are -


1. Will the proposed Manly Wonderpool be the big thing that helps Manly business and residents through our tough times? If not, what is the projects purpose?

2. Can the proposed Manly Wonderpool be funded for less than $5-10M, and be structurally sound to withstand storms from an exposed southern facing beach?

3. Can the proposed Manly Wonderpool be economically viable after 3-5 years, and not become an aset owned or controlled by a wealthy restauranteur or a marina?

4. How many swimmers will use the investment, and will the Wonderpool be able to attract large groups of regular swimmers such as the famous pink caps known as the 'Bold & Beautiful', and

5. Does anyone really believe that the proposed Wonderpool's environmental claims being spruiked by the communication experts are anything but Greenwashing?


If you seek credible information, then ask the expert organisations such as the Sydney Institute of Marine Science (part of Sydney University) located at Chowder Bay, or Torango Zoo. The protection of marine life and habitat can certainly be achieved at a lot less expense if the huge timber and steel Wonderpool construction is deleted from the concept. Greenwashing makes all proposals look ridiculous!

The conclusion I have reached on whether the Manly Cove Wonderpool should be rebuilt is - NO on economic grounds, NO on social/ community issues, and NO on environmental impacts. Please support a community that chooses to save its open spaces and iconic beaches!


Ignoring this one-sided proposal to rebuild the Manly Cove Wonderpool could mean funding for other important Manly initiatives are not available, see ratepayer levies wasted on trivial projects, and lose a nationally important and iconic beachfront adjoining Sydney Harbour. Standing up to gross over-development that serves just a few with nolstagic memories shall ensure public moneys are prioritised on solving important local issues.

My View - This project is not good for Manly, what's your's?


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David Burns
Sun 02 Sep 2012 agree_icon Agree (1) disagree_icon Disgree (0)

Hi Simmone, Not sure if Candy Bingham (seeking election for Manly Council 2012) has a certificate from a fully insured Quantity Surveyor stating that the proposed Manly Wonderpool can be built for max $3M. I suggest you email Candy Bingham at and ask her.

Sun 02 Sep 2012 agree_icon Agree (2) disagree_icon Disgree (0)

Good For Manly probably mean well and influenced by their own nostalgia - just a dumb idea and waste of money. I suggest this money should be shared around the community, not just in the CBD of beach/ harbourside.

Sun 02 Sep 2012 agree_icon Agree (1) disagree_icon Disgree (0)

Has there been a quantity survey done by a fully insured consultant. If not, then the $3M estimate is not worth the spruiking. I heard Manly Council had costed this Wonderpool at +$10M.

Sun 02 Sep 2012 agree_icon Agree (2) disagree_icon Disgree (0)

The Wonderpool is a stupid idea and a total waste of money when there are better swimming options in Manly. There is no way such a MEGA-Structure can be built for $3M.

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