I would like to reply to comments made by Dr Jenni Jenkins from the YMCA in the Advertiser on Friday, February 1.
She stated that “for many years we have managed the majority of Bendigo’s swimming pools and for the majority of those years this has been at a loss”.
I am happy to apologise to the YMCA for assuming they made a profit in every year of their operations of the Bendigo swimming pools.
I had assumed that because a committee of management can make a profit from the pool, the YMCA could as well.
Therein lies the problem.
The YMCA is a large organisation with many projects and levels of management, and with the best of intentions, can never be as efficient as a committee of management whose sole purpose is to run one pool for the benefit of the community.
These losses by the YMCA therefore become a strong argument for passing the pool management onto a committee.
I welcome Dr Jenkins comments that: “Alternative funding and management may need to be considered”, and ask that the City of Greater Bendigo look closely at this issue.
The number of pool users have been steadily reducing to the point where the City of Greater Bendigo are now using this as one of the reasons to close the pool.
Dr Jenkins seems to be blaming reduced pool attendance on the “globally poor economic climate”.
I cannot agree with this.
A weak economy may lead to decreased pool attendance at venues like the proposed $26 million indoor pool at Kangaroo Flat, but what would appear to me more likely to increase attendance at outdoor pools as they are one of the cheapest activities around.
Dr Jenkins points out the YMCA does a lot of things for the youth of Bendigo.
I am not disputing that and hope the YMCA continue with their good work in many areas.
She states the YMCA mission is “to build healthy individuals, families and communities”.
One thing I can say for certain is that the youth and the families of Golden Square will be the biggest losers if the City of Greater Bendigo do not allow the pool to reopen.
The Golden Square pool is set up for families.
There is a toddlers’ pool, a learners’ pool and a 50-metre main pool.
Parents can easily keep an eye on their children.
I welcome Dr Jenkins comments that swimming pools are vital to our community.
It seems that the Save the Golden Square Pool Group and the YMCA have many common goals.
I ask that Dr Jenkins publicly supports our community’s bid to take up the running of the pool, thereby providing more recreational opportunities for the families and youth of Golden Square.
All our community asks is to be given the opportunity to run the pool and let it become the wonderful community asset it once was.
I ask the City of Greater Bendigo to listen to the people of Golden Square.
I ask the current mayor to back up her words of support and show her leadership by passing on the passion and endeavor shown at our community meeting to her fellow councillors.
How more clearly can we demonstrate our will to retain our pool?