Bendigo MP Maree Edwards urges council to keep Golden Square Pool open

Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards will join the many people imploring the City of Greater Bendigo not to shut the Golden Square Pool.

Ms Edwards intends to speak about the community’s 100-year-old pool in Victorian Parliament tomorrow morning.

The fate of the Golden Square Pool is in the hands of the city’s councillors, who will vote on its survival tomorrow night.

Ms Edwards said she and the community’s local councillors had received many representations from residents since City of Greater Bendigo staff recommended the Golden Square Pool be closed.

More than 100 Golden Square Primary School students were among those to contact their local government representatives.

“While the new Kangaroo Flat Aquatic and Well Being Centre will be a great facility for our community, I do not believe it should be one or the other,” Ms Edwards said in a statement.

“Both facilities are needed to accommodate our growing population and to ensure that people have access to facilities that promote good health, exercise and importantly fun, family and community cohesion.

“I urge the City of Greater Bendigo Councillors to keep the Golden Square pool open.”

Supporters of the 100-year-old outdoor pool will gather in the gardens outside the Bendigo Town Hall ahead of Wednesday’s council meeting.

“Quite a few people are indicating through social media and via telephone they will be there but I don’t know numbers,” Golden Square Pool president Bernadette Wright said. 

She was hopeful those who attended the meeting would have opportunities to ask “some very pertinent questions” about the council’s recommendations.

Staff have recommended the Golden Square Pool be permanently closed once the Gurri Wanyarra Wellbeing Centre opens.

A community celebration of the 100-year-old pool has been suggested, followed by planning for the future use of the site.

Alternatives include keeping the Golden Square Pool open for a period of time after the new pool opens to gauge its impact on the 100-year-old pool’s popularity. 

Councillors will consider the level of financial support provided to the Golden Square Pool in the event it stays open.

“If the councillors decide to give us a reprieve then we'll take what they give us. But I would want them to think long-term,” Ms Wright said.

“To make improvements or implement the plans we have they would need to give us, I would hope, at least five years.

“Now they're probably not going to do that, but in fairness I would want them to see that a one year, a three and then a one-year lease has been very restrictive and yet we’ve succeeded.”

Harry Barne from Specimen Hill Primary School campaigns for the facility's survival. Pictures: DARREN HOWE

Harry Barne from Specimen Hill Primary School campaigns for the facility's survival. Pictures: DARREN HOWE

Ms Wright found the notion of comparing the new facility with the Golden Square Pool unhelpful.

“If the numbers [at Golden Square] changed drastically over a number of seasons then of course it would have to be looked at,” she said.

“But I still think the fact goes back to this: we are different. We offer a different experience to a leisure and wellbeing centre.”

The points of difference are greater than one pool being indoor and the other being outdoor.

“They’re open many hours of the day, we’re open limited hours and seasons,” Ms Wright said.

The council meeting starts at 6pm on Wednesday in the Bendigo Town Hall.