THE decommissioning of the Golden Square pool has begun today.
A council truck that turned up to the site this morning was greeted by members of the Save Our Golden Square Pool group, who were blocking the entrance.
The protesters, who had been sitting in front of the entrance since 7am, said they had planned to stay for the entire day.
The City of Greater Bendigo's Lincoln Fitzgerald arrived about 11.45am to talk to the group.
A 10,000 litre truck entered the Maple Street site about noon to drain the pool which was filled with about a million litres of water over several days after the site was broken into.
Council manager of active and healthy communities Patrick Jess said the water would be re-used.
“The city is getting on with the job of implementing the decision made by Council, although it is understandable some locals are upset by this closure,” he said.
“The water will be re-used in the construction of a roads project and in the coming days contractors will begin dismantling filters and making the site as safe as possible.
“Officers will consider if the filters and other equipment can be re-used at one of the city’s 11 other aquatic facilities.”
A member of the public alerted the City of Greater Bendigo about the break-in yesterday.
Mr Jess said a fence had been cut near the football ground and padlocks sawn through, and the site will now be manned by security staff.
“It would have taken one or two days to fill it... it’s almost completely full,” he said.
“They turned on a valve within the plant room which is a pipe that leads into the pool.
“It feeds directly from the main water supply.
“We think it cost about $2000 to $3000 of ratepayer money to fill.
“It amazes me people think they have the right to break and enter.
“There wasn’t extensive damage, it was more disappointing that water, which is at an absolute premium, was so terribly wasted. It’s just really disappointing.”
Storerooms containing a ride-on lawnmower and chemicals were also broken into.
“It’s highly unusual for someone to break into a council facility,” Mr Jess said. “I haven’t seen it before.”
Councillor Mark Weragoda, who voted to close the pool, said he was also annoyed by the break-in.
“They’re risking not only their lives, but the lives of others,” he said.
“There may have been kids going into the property.
“It’s a disgrace that someone has gone to this level to try to sort this problem out.”