THE CITY of Greater Bendigo is calling on election candidates to commit funding to key projects.
Chief executive Craig Niemann said the top priority for the council was securing $10 million for the Kangaroo Flat Aquatic Centre, followed closely by $5 million for Bendigo Airport.
City of Greater Bendigo city futures director Stan Liacos said he expected to lodge a planning application for the pool in November. Bendigo Labor candidate Lisa Chesters and Liberal candidate Greg Bickley have both said they support the projects, but have not promised funding.
Mr Niemann said that although candidates had expressed support, funding commitments were now needed as the election drew near.
“I’m optimistic we can get some commitment prior to the election,” Mr Niemann said.
“The aquatic centre is really number one.
“A funding pledge or commitment by the candidates would be really pleasing.
“That will give the project strong support to proceed in more detail to make sure we can use that to leverage state funding as well.
“The candidates have said they recognise the importance of the project and they’ve both been supportive of it.
“But neither have come out with formal funding announcements, which we’d like to see over the next couple of weeks.”
Mr Niemann said the airport and pool projects could “proceed very quickly” if federal funding was committed.
He said money for upgrades to the Ravenswood Interchange and the Bendigo Botanic Gardens were also being sought.
“We look forward to further announcements,” he said. “We’re ready, willing and waiting.”
The pool needs $10 million – which the council has said it would match – from both the federal and state governments.
A total of $5 million is needed from the federal government for the airport.
The council says it would also match this amount.
City of Greater Bendigo city futures director Stan Liacos said the council was “deadly serious” about delivering the pool project within three years.
“Given the election the timing is critical,” he said.
“It’s important that at very least pledges are made in the next two weeks.
“This is a vital project for a growing city like Bendigo.”
Mr Liacos said the aquatic centre would have three pools, multi-purpose rooms, a wellness centre, gym and cafes.
“This is not a 1950s-style pool,” he said.
“It’s state-of-the-art aquatic facility.”
He said airport upgrades were also vitally important as the current airport was “letting us down”.