Chewton pool safe

IT may have been a year-long fight but Chewton residents say the battle to save their pool has been well worth it.Mount Alexander Shire council voted on Tuesday to provide $25,000 per year for three years towards the operating costs of the Chewton Pool, provided the Department of Sustainability and Environment nominates a community committee as the Crown Land Committee of Management for the facility.Mayor Janet Cropley said the decision divided council, and she had voted against the recommendation.“For Mount Alexander Shire it means not investing capital money but supporting the operational running of the pool,” she said.“Council has not yet resolved to go ahead with the aquatic centre in Castlemaine, even if we did we would need to look at federal and state government funding.“I’m sure the community of Chewton will be delighted by the decision. They have put in an extraordinary amount of work. There is certainly no question about that.”Last year, the council released the Mount Alexander Shire Indoor Aquatic Centre Feasibility Study and asked for feedback from the community. The proposal detailed the feasibility of establishing a new $14 million Indoor Aquatic and Leisure Centre at the Western Reserve in Castlemaine and also proposed that council consider the closure of pools at Chewton, Harcourt and Castlemaine.Save Chewton Pool spokeswoman Rose Darling said the group’s fight had been well worth it.“It’s not the amount that is important it’s the ongoing commitment,” she said.“Our business plan has council’s backing and it won’t fall over.“Hopefully the state government will see that the council is not walking away from its ratepayers.“This is a far cry from council’s previous decision last July to close and demolish our outdoor pool.”Ms Darling said young families were moving to Chewton and it was important that the infrastructure was there for them.