GOLDEN Square residents appear to have finally lost their battle to save their pool, despite a protest aimed at stopping the facility from being decommissioned.
Several residents gathered at the site yesterday in an attempt to stop a City of Greater Bendigo truck from entering the area and draining the pool’s water, after it was filled during an apparent break-in.
Save Our Golden Square Pool group president Ken Hamilton yesterday asked council staff at the site for a 24-hour reprieve but was told police would be called if the protesters stopped the water tanker from entering.
The protesters moved from the main entrance and police eventually arrived, but the gathering remained peaceful, with security personnel also present.
The tanker started taking the water – to be used for roadworks in Thistle Street – which the council later said was the first stage of decommissioning the pool.
Group secretary Linda Howell said there was very little chance the pool would ever reopen.
“The community has stood up and said they were willing to run the pool, but our protests have fallen on deaf ears,” she said.
“We came together as a community but there’s not much more we can do.
“We’re still waiting on another avenue, but it will take another week. The council has definitely rushed into this.”
A rescission motion on the recent vote to close the pool from Cr Peter Cox, which was seconded by Cr Elise Chapman, was also knocked back by council chief executive Craig Niemann yesterday. He said there weren’t sufficient grounds to proceed.
Council manager of active and healthy communities Patrick Jess said the pool filters would be dismantled in coming days and the site made as safe as possible.
He said the council would see if the filters and other equipment could be used at other local pools. “Decommissioning the pool will allow the council to soon begin the consultation process for its Recreation and Open Space Master Plan for the Golden Square sports precinct,” Mr Jess said.
“We hope residents will get involved and help officers determine the most appropriate use of the site that will benefit the entire community.”