Golden Square pool duel

GOLDEN Square residents are making a final bid to save their pool. 

City of Greater Bendigo staff have recommended the pool be demolished and plans drawn up for the future use of the site, with a report noting it would cost $300,000 to reopen the facility. 

But residents will rally before tomorrow night’s council meeting and hope to save what they say is an important community asset. 

Save the Golden Square Pool group member Linda Howell said she thought the council’s calculations were inaccurate. 

She said she hoped councillors would vote to create a community committee to open and run the pool for next summer. “The recommendation is very disappointing,” she said. 

“We need the facilities just as much as anyone else. 

“Give the community a chance to show what they can do with their pool.” 

Ms Howell said 1780 people had signed a petition to reopen the pool and that 

65 volunteers had come forward to run the facility. 

She said the original decision to close the pool was made without proper information. 

The group will gather at the Old Town Hall at 5pm tomorrow.

Council manager of active and healthy communities Patrick Jess said the issue was about more than just money. 

“Even if the council did invest funding to meet the community’s needs, because of the age of the infrastructure, there’s no guarantee it would meet the community’s needs for the long term,” he said. “The officer recommendation is consistent with the aquatic strategy that was adopted by the council in December 2010. 

“One of the main objectives of the aquatic strategy is to provide the community with a range of aquatic opportunities that meet satisfactory standards across the whole municipality.

“The Golden Square Pool hasn’t been meeting community needs for the past few years.” 

Mr Jess said the council was in an “unenviable and challenging position” of trying to meet the wider community’s swimming needs while balancing costs. 

He said funding the Golden Square Pool could put other pools in jeopardy. 

“It’s an extremely difficult decision because the staff are well aware and acknowledge the emotional attachment that Golden Square residents have for the pool and the social connection that the pool provides for the community,” he said. 

“However, we’re obligated to consider the needs of the broader community.”

Mr Jess said a report on the Long Gully Pool would be presented to the council on March 6 after a public meeting on February 23.

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