ALMOST 30 angry Golden Square residents held a public meeting last night to discuss the planned closure of the Golden Square Swimming Pool.
City of Greater Bendigo recreation manager Patrick Jess also attended the meeting to answer residents’ questions.
Mr Jess said the council initially allocated $80,000 to run the Golden Square and Long Gully pools over summer but tenders were significantly in excess of the budget.
Former Golden Square Swimming Pool committee member Andrew Penna suggested a committee of voluntary community members should be formed to save the pool from closure.
“It we can form a proper committee we could open the pool with the help of council and could get it running again,” he said.
“I know from experience we could run at a profit.”
But Mr Jess said it would cost too much money to fix the pool up to sufficient health and safety standards.
“I am not sure if it’s achievable (because of) the amount of money it will take to fix the infrastructure,” he said.
Mr Jess also said the closure was not just about cost, but also about addressing the community’s demands, as outlined in the council’s aquatic strategy.
The council is planning to construct an aquatic centre at Kangaroo Flat, forecast to cost $25 million.
“Cost is one element but it’s also about the different user requirements,” he said.
“The needs and demands of pools now include being used by families, for education and for hydrotherapy and rehabilitation.
“A lot of the pools around here are 50 years old and at the end of their lives and we have to be responsible about it.”
But Mr Penna said a new pool at Kangaroo Flat would not sufficiently meet the needs of Golden Square residents.
“Bendigo is not on a river. There is a social need for local swimming pools.
“Generations of kids have gone to this pool.”