THERE’S strong support for a new pool in Castlemaine, according to Mount Alexander Shire mayor Michael Redden.
The council has completed its first round of public consultation, with more than 700 responses.
Cr Redden said there was almost unanimous support for the pool, but differing opinions on length, features and costs.
“The main issue is whether it is a 25 or 50 metre pool,” he said.
“The federal and state governments talk about the population you need to justify a 50 metre pool, and we come well under that.
“They would be telling us you need a 25 metre pool and may push us in that direction.
“However there is a string of people who want a 50 metre pool, and they would be the swimming club people.
“They want to be able to hold competitions and they say to have carnivals they need a 50 metre pool.”
Cr Redden said the council did not have solid figures on the cost of the pool, but said it would be unlikely to be less than $10 million.
He said the current pool on Lake Augusta Lane was not able to be fixed and had “reached the end of its time”.
“If we only replace the pool with another pool we might be able to do it for about $8 million,” he said.
“Add heating and various features and you can image the cost would rise rapidly.
“But those figures are only of the top of my head, the council does not have any official cost estimate at the moment.”
The council dropped plans for an aquatic centre at Western Reserve due to the $15 million price tag.
Cr Redden said there would need to be a significant increase to car parking at the current site to accommodate patrons.
“We hope to have a feasibility study completed by June, and have designs in the 2014/15 financial year ready to go out to state and federal funding,” he said.
“We’d have to find some way to expand parking considerably.
“It’s enclosed by hospital space on one side and a caravan park on the other.”
Cr Redden said there was only a 15 metre indoor pool at a gym near the town hall.
A pool at Campbells Creek was closed down several years ago, with the nearest swim centres in Newstead, Maldon and Harcourt.
“Almost everyone, apart from a couple of school kids who said it should be replaced by a skate park, said they were happy for the pool to remain where it is,” he said.
“The preset pool is leaking badly, the concrete lacks reinforcing and we can’t play around with it.
“We have to take to it and replace it with something brand new.”