A small portion of Melbourne's Yarra River may soon be open to swimmers after a company unveiled plans for a floating pool.
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27 May 2016 - 3:14 PM  UPDATED 27 May 2016 - 8:08 PM

A campaign to build a pool in Melbourne's maligned Yarra River has been launched.

A site and funding model has yet to be determined, but a preliminary plan by Yarra Swim Co has its length at 25 metres.

Matt Stewart from Yarra Swim Co said the proposal would cater for the growing number of people living in the CBD.

He said it would help shift the perception of the Yarra from the ugly duckling to an international destination. 

“To see it as a place that's active and they can play sports and recreate, and really be proud of the river rather than see it as a place that's unclean and not something to go near,” he said.

The proposed site for the pool (SBS)

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If the $6 million proposal is to succeed, it would need to overcome one significant public relations hurdle - beliefs about the water quality.

As it stands, over-refreshed backpackers and Australian Open winners are the only people who brave the Yarra’s murky depths.

In fact, it’s illegal to swim in the waterway as it’s deemed a transport corridor.

Yarra River keeper Andrew Kelly endorsed the proposal and said the quality of the river water is frequently underestimated. 

“It's brown to begin with which makes people think it's polluted, which is not entirely true," he said.

"The ecoli levels have been improving over the past 50 years." 

The push to reclaim urban waterways for recreation certainly isn't restricted to Melbourne.

London and New York City also have plans in the pipeline for floating pools in the Thames and East Rivers.

Berlin already has a fully functioning river-pool and New York's proposed 'Plus Pool' faces similar push-back to Melbourne on the grounds of pollution - but engineers and investors are working through the issues.

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