Port Macquarie’s first tidal pool will be nestled into the headland at Oxley Beach thanks to the combined efforts of the NSW Nationals in the state and federal governments, and the local community.

The pool will have eight swimming lanes each 50 metres in length, a children’s leisure zone and a rehabilitation zone with disabled access to all areas of the pool.

Deputy Prime Minister and Federal Nationals Leader Michael McCormack joined NSW Nationals colleagues Member for Cowper Pat Conaghan and Member for Port Macquarie Leslie Williams, along with the Port Macquarie Tidal Pool Committee, to unveil the concept plan.

Mr Conaghan said the concept plan was impressive and completion of its feasibility study brought this important infrastructure project – backed by the NSW Nationals in the state and federal governments – one step closer to reality.

“There have been calls for an ocean tidal pool since the 1970s and a petition of 18,000 signatures in support of the project testifies to its popularity,” he said.

“I lobbied hard for an investment commitment from the Federal Government for this project and $4.5 million from our government is on the table for it once it has obtained planning approval.”

Ms Williams congratulated the committee for the work done to get the project to this important point.

“The committee has worked hard to carry out a range of site studies and garner community support for this project,” she said.

“I’m glad our government invested in this project as it will be a drawcard for locals and tourists alike and it will strengthen the facilities available for the annual IRONMAN triathlon.”

Mr McCormack said the NSW Nationals in the state and federal governments were investing a record amount in infrastructure projects to support local jobs and the nation’s economic recovery from COVID-19.

“This tidal pool project is yet another example of our government investing in infrastructure to support the growth of regional communities and jobs,” he said.

“I announced $1.5 billion for accelerated infrastructure investment in June and $451 million for New South Wales for shovel-ready road projects just two weeks ago.

“I hope this project moves swiftly to improve productivity and support jobs right now when we need them most.”

Local support

Port Macquarie Tidal Pool Committee chair Kathryn Butler said she was pleased the feasibility study and its numerous high-level studies on ecology, geomorphology and Aboriginal object assessment had been completed.

“Through $50,000 from the state government, we hired Principal Engineer of Water Laboratory at the University of NSW James Carley to undertake a comprehensive analysis of the coastal processes affecting a number of possible locations around Port Macquarie,” she said.

“The outcomes of studies, along with input from the local committee, led us to pick Oxley Beach as the preferred location for the tidal pool.

“The concept design of the pool by architect Nicole Larkin has the pool sitting within the circumference of the headland to conserve and enhance the topography and geomorphology unique to the area.

“This design also maintains the beautiful views to and from Oxley Beach headland and allows for pedestrian access.”

The tidal pool concept plan includes an all access public concourse and pedestrian pathways linking to the existing rocky headland. The committee hopes to work in partnership with the Birpai Local Aboriginal Land Council and desires indigenous artwork to be featured on the public concourse to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land.

The Port Macquarie Tidal Pool Committee will undertake further detailed studies before submitting a Development Application to Port Macquarie-Hastings Council.