Treasurer sees pool's value

VICTORIAN treasurer Michael O'Brien expects more than 400,000 people will benefit from the Greater Bendigo Aquatic Centre each year.

After announcing the state government would contribute $15 million to the project, Mr O'Brien said a lot of the credit must go to the City of Greater Bendigo.

"As a government, we listen to local communities and the council has done a lot of work on the project," he said.

"They've done their homework and the project stacks up from our point of view.

"It will create local jobs and improve people's quality of life, so we are really happy to come to the party with$15 million."

City of Greater Bendigo mayor Barry Lyons said he was excited to have the $15 million committed by the state government.

"It really gives us a strong arm to now go to Canberra with," Cr Lyons said.

"We have had this project for about six years and it has been at the top of our priorities list for that long.

"It's a project we have been aching to get at and the $15 million is excellent."

Cr Lyons said the council was hoping for $10 million and was surprised to get $15 million in funding.

The aquatic centre project is expected to cost $30 million with the council prepared to commit $10 million to the project.

The original hope of the council was to get $10 million each from the local, state and federal governments to fund the project.

Victorian treasuruer Michael O'Brien.

Victorian treasuruer Michael O'Brien.

"The state government sees the value in it," Cr Lyons said.

"We will go up (to Canberra) still hoping to get $10 million. We're committed to it and definitely need at least $5 million from the federal Government.

"If we don't get it from them, and we're $5 million short then we will find it from somewhere."

Cr Lyons said the aquatic centre project would serve a number of purposes.

"The building we have there is 30 years old and it's use-by date is up and gone," he said.

"We need a new pool, we haven't got a decent, serviceable pool in Bendigo."

Cr Lyons said there were 13 pools in Bendigo and that three would close to help create the Bendigo Aquatic Centre.

"It will serve more than just being a body of water," he said.

"It will be a health and well-being centre that will take us into the next 30-odd years."

The aquatic centre will feature an eight-line, 50-metre swimming pool, hydrotherapy pools and spas, a children's learn-to-swim pool and program, cafe and food facilities, a gym facilities, a wellness centre and short-stay childcare facilities.

The council hopes the doors to the new pool will open in late 2016 or early 2017.

With master plans finalised, the next stage for the project is applications for planning permits.

The state government sees the value in it - Mayor Barry Lyons

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