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Orange is going a bit crazy for in-ground pools, with nine DAs lodged in just four weeks

October 12, 2023

Stock image.

* marks the pools of Orange. Google Earth.

By Peter Holmes

When you take an aerial view of Orange, you’ll note that the city is not overwhelmed with enthusiasm for backyard swimming pools.

This changes as you drift out of town to a larger-sized, multi-million-dollar estate such as Clifton Grove, where there is more expensive blue, but in the meat of the city the in-ground or above-ground pool hasn’t really taken off.

* marks the pools of Orange. Google Earth.

West of the CBD is where you’ll find the most in-ground pools, but even then they’re hardly carpeting the area.

To the north, south and east of the CBD, aside from the odd pool pocket, they’re pretty thin on the ground.

A rare Orange pool cluster. Google Earth.

Which makes the latest round of development applications (DAs) published by Orange City Council (October 5, 2023) all the more interesting. Out of 13 DAs, four seek consent to build an in-ground pool.

Only one is part of a new build.

Pool zone in Orange. Google Earth.

Three of the pools would be constructed north of the CBD (Pollock Place, Molloy Drive and March Street) and one to the west (Kanzi Close).

The previous DA list (September 28, 2023) had nine applications, including two for in-ground pools.

The September 21, 2023 list had two in-ground pools among 11 applications.

On September 14, 2023, it was one of 10.

The pools of Orange. Google Earth.

That’s nine in-ground pools in four weeks.

In the previous five weeks of published DAs, there were three in-ground pools out of 34 applications.

The pools of Orange. Google Earth.

It’s difficult to know exactly how many functioning in-ground pools there are in Orange, and why the city might be having a mini pool boom.

Information was sought from a pool builder one town across, but no response was forthcoming. Perhaps they were too busy building pools.

Traditionally a place like Orange, with its four true seasons, hasn’t been the most ideal place to get the digger in. What’s the point in all that cost and effort for so few good swimming days?

Heating techniques, however, have enabled pool owners to keep the water warm enough to swim in on more days throughout the year. And, for some, solar is helping to reduce bills.

One Orange builder told us that pool use in Orange can stretch from September to April if the pool is solar heated, and you could pick up an extra weeks on top if it pump-heated.

But is it still enough to justify the time and elbow grease?

An in-ground pool can cost anywhere from around $45,000 to well over $100,000, depending on a range of factors, such as whether the pool is fibreglass or concrete; whether it’s heated, and how; the size of the pool and any trimmings such as waterfalls, infinity edge, spa; and surrounding landscaping, tiling, etc.

No pools. Google Earth.

* marks the pools of Orange. Google Earth.

During Covid investors, tree changers and holidaymakers poured into Orange.

The property market boomed - it has since pulled back - and while this pushed the dream of home ownership out of reach for many, it made many others wealthy, or wealthier, as their properties quickly doubled in value in a low interest rate climate.

The money is there, and maybe that’s why the pool business in Orange seems to be enjoying a glorious moment in the sun.

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