Pinelands Town Hall and a Swimming Pool

Pinelands Town Hall 

One of the early successes of the Pinelands Civic Association was establishing the Pinelands Town Hall.  In 1923, a deputation from the Association approached the Garden Cities Trustees who agreed to build a hall provided that the Association furnished the hall and provided a piano. The hall was  inaugurated in 1924 by Richard Stuttaford, followed by a concert and a dance programme.

In 1939 the Local Board called for tenders to build a new Town Hall on the site where the Pinelands Municipal Offices now stand.  This  proposal did not progress any further due to costs.

When the Pinelands extension was planned in 1942, the layout included a shopping centre  (Howard Centre) and a new Town Hall.  The Municipality announced in 1953 that they would build the new Town Hall, which would include a theatre and administrative offices.  The existing Town Hall was to be converted into a gymnasium.  The Municipality had on-going discussions with Garden Cities and the Administrator regarding the actual site for the development.  However, no consensus could be found, and in 1958 it was decided not to proceed with the project .

After the 1960 elections, the new Municipality once again opened discussions with Garden Cities and the Administrator. An agreement was reached to build in the Howard Centre area and tenders were called for. The complex would have included a main hall seating 600, a minor hall, clinic, cash office and library  among other facilities. The Municipality failed to get public support and the project was scrapped.

The last attempt to build a new Civic centre, was investigated in 1983. While various sites were considered, the  Council proposed that  it  be built across St Stephens Road, which would link the Garden of Remembrance with the Municipal Offices. The Executive of the Pinelands Ratepayers Association met with the Mayor to express their opposition to the proposal and requested a referendum to take place at a public meeting.   Two years later the Council held a series of three public meeting to present their proposals.  The final meeting  started with a motion of no confidence in the Council followed by a fiery debate. Residents were able to air their views fully leading to the no confidence motion being withdrawn. At the next Council meeting it was decided not to proceed with the project.   

Public Swimming Pool 

The Town Hall was also in the news when the ground behind the  Hall was identified as a possible  site for a public swimming pool.  From time to time  residents (usually new residents) would raise the need for a public swimming at public meetings but would be unable to  generate support.  The  one exception was in 1941 when the Pinelands Civic Association distributed a pamphlet requesting residents to complete a questionnaire regarding the call for an open-air public swimming pool for Pinelands.  The pamphlet gave details of the pool to be built behind the Town Hall with costs including suggested admission fees. This led to strongly worded letters to Garden City Monthly giving views both for and against.  

The proposal was abandoned when it was discovered that the Union Treasury would not permit the Municipality to raise a loan for the purpose.  Those against the proposal primarily objected to  the costs but one resident  complained in an open letter  about the possibility of residents wasting time lounging  in the sun at the pool especially on Sunday morning instead of spending more time at church.   The last recorded public  call  for a  municipal swimming pool behind the Town Hall was in 1960, but this too failed to get  support.