Golden Square Pool will remain open under the management of an incorporated community group, after a unanimous decision in its favour at the City of Greater Bendigo meeting last night.
The decision was met by loud cheers from a gallery packed with members of the Save the Golden Square Pool committee.
The group, which has campaigned for months to save the pool from closure, had gathered outside the Town Hall before the meeting to greet councilors and council staff with placards and loud chanting.
Dozens of cars travelling along Lyttleton Terrace honked their horns in support as more than 100 protesters, young and old, chanted “save our pool”.
Once inside the group cheered as Cr Elise Chapman, herself a Golden Square resident, moved a motion that would allow the pool to remain open without any financial support from the council.
Under the compromise, initially proposed by Save the Golden Square Pool committee chair Ken Hamilton, the committee will have to raise all the money needed to restore the pool to a safe and compliant operating condition by December 1, 2013.
Mr Hamilton said he was confident the committee could get the pool ready for the start of the 2013-14 swimming season.
But if the committee does not raise the funds the council will decommission the pool.
It is estimated $292,000 will be needed to bring the pool into compliance.
All council infrastructure will remain at the site.
Cr Chapman said the community group would be responsible for the pool until the completion of the proposed Kangaroo Flat Aquatic Centre.
“Council will not pay for maintenance or capital works at the pool,” she said.
“The pool will be closed if the conditions are not met.”
Cr Chapman said she had been inspired by Save Our Pool and its supporters. “You got knocked down and you have got back up again,” she said. “I believe in you guys.”
Cr Peter Cox said the decision was a “viable option” because the community was taking responsibility for the pool.
Cr Rod Fyffe agreed. “It makes us stop and think ‘these people are fair dinkum’,” he said.
“I look forward to the pool being reopened, reused and reenergised.”
Long Gully pool was not as lucky at last night’s meeting.
Councillors voted unanimously to keep the pool closed, despite receiving 1400 signatures from residents keen to see it reopen.