Chewton fighters savour their pool

CHEWTON residents are savouring the survival of their pool, and say they’re ready to work to secure it for years to come.

The Chewton pool, which was rescued from demolition by a community campaign to raise funds last year, has reopened again this summer.

Chewton Pool committee president Helen McGeachin said another year of fund-raising events meant this year’s reopening was just as exciting as the previous 2011, when the pool was on the brink of closure.

Ms McGeachin, who was enjoying a swim during yesterday’s 31 degree day, said the pool would not be there without the commitment of volunteers.

“We came very, very close to losing it,” she said. “If we hadn’t had such a determined committee that organised generous fund-raising efforts, we wouldn’t be here again this year.

“It’s pretty astonishing. The group just set their target funds and got it. It’s taken a massive amount of effort.”

A committee art auction earlier this year raised more than $17,000. Ms McGeachin said the pool maintenance costs were high, but recent attendance had increased and was expected to remain strong this year.

“Last year we had about 5500 people, up from 1500 the previous season,” she said. “We’re pretty committed to maintaining it.

“We have demonstrated we can run it successfully. We just need the ongoing support of council. It’s important the community has ownership of the pool.”

For Faye Gallagher the pool is a family tradition. At the pool yesterday with her granddaughters Jorja, 4, and Indianna, 8, she said it held great memories for her. 

“My grandfather was one of the people who helped build the pool,” she said. “I remember coming here since I was three, I would come down in the morning and stay until night. A lot of people I knew as kids still come here, now with their grandkids. It’s lovely.”

Ms McGeachin said she was keen to work with the new Mount Alexander Shire councillors to confirm ongoing support for the pool.

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