New Sturt Reserve plan calls for riverfront swimming pool

The Murray Bridge council has significantly updated the $34 million master plan for its most popular reserve.

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A swimming pool, like the one which existed in decades past, is a new addition in the latest plan for Murray Bridge’s riverfront. Image: Rural City of Murray Bridge.

A river swimming pool, road closures and a new home for Bertha the Bunyip are among the striking additions to the latest master plan for Sturt Reserve.

The Murray Bridge council has added new details, and made a few changes, to the $34 million plan which was originally approved four years ago.

Gone in the latest artist’s impressions are the gaudy palm trees envisioned in 2019, replaced with:

  • An enclosed swimming pool in the river

  • A new home for Bertha the Bunyip

  • A “grand staircase” descending down Wharf Hill from the Bridgeport Hotel

  • Better access to the Round House over a new pedestrian bridge

  • The closure of Olympic Drive and part of Murray Cods Drive

Councillors will be asked to approve the latest version of the plan at a meeting on Monday night.

Ideas carried over from the old plan include a huge new nature play space which could replace the existing playground, and new visitor information centre at the wharf.

The plan also suggests fencing off a dog park at the back of Sturt Reserve; and refers to the former Ridley feed mill on Mary Terrace as a “key link in the chain”, though it does not include specific ideas about what it should be used for.

However, none of the ideas in the plan will be set in stone even if councillors approve it on Monday night.

The public and the area’s traditional owners, the Ngarrindjeri people, will both be consulted in more detail before each stage of work begins.

Assets and infrastructure manager Heather Barclay described the plan as setting the focus for the next few years of work “while allowing for flexibility ... to respond to community needs and interests”.

Having a general sense about the way forward would allow council CEO Michael Sedgman to apply for state or federal funding on short notice if it became available, she said in a report to the council.

Remaining work on the riverfront’s “recreation” precinct, including shelters and benches, is expected to be finished by the end of this year.

Recently funded upgrades at the city’s wharf, intended to encourage river tourism, will be next on the to-do list during 2022 and 2023.

More to come.

  • Watch the debate: Visit the Murray Bridge council chamber at 2 Seventh Street, or watch the live stream at www.youtube.com, from 7pm on Monday.

The latest version of the Sturt Reserve master plan speculates about a dog park, top left, a nature play space, bottom left, and a redesigned Wharf Hill, right. Image: RCMB.

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