THE Golden Square Pool committee of management wants their lease extended by at least 10 years beyond 2020 to give user groups certainty, and to allow for the facilities to be upgraded.
The lease has been extended by just three and two years most recently after the pool was once again threatened with closure as part of the opening of the $31 million Gurri Wanyarra Wellbeing Centre in Kangaroo Flat this year.
The City of Greater Bendigo will develop two master plans for the Golden Square recreation reserve precinct – one that factors in the pool, and the other that considers the future should the pool be shut down.
The future of the Golden Square Pool will be determined in the council’s updated swimming pool strategy, a process which has yet to start.
Golden Square Pool committee of management president Sam Kane said a range of capital works needed to take place at the pool, but it was difficult to plan for the future.
“We just want certainty, to be able to say ‘this is what we’re going to do’,” he said.
“We will be fighting for an indefinite lease or a least of at least 10 years.
“We’re really confident that what we’ve been able to build up over six years is the type of facility this community wants, and people will continue to come here into the future. The old-fashioned swimming experience is what people love.
“We have the football, netball, bowls and croquet clubs here, we would really like to see them be able to use the pool as well.”
Mr Kane said the committee was not opposed to the new aquatic centre at Kangaroo Flat and believed both pools could coexist.
The Golden Square Pool was slated for closure in 2013 before a community campaign managed to reverse the City of Greater Bendigo’s decision.
It remained in council’s plans to close the pool once Gurri Wanyarra opened, but in 2016 the council decided to allow the committee to operate the pool and another lease was granted.
The council still recommended closing the Golden Square Pool at the conclusion of the 2017/18 season, and another vote was required to save it in February, reigniting the community campaign.
The next decision was pushed to 2020, when the lease expires once again.
The council provides $50,000 per year to the pool’s committee of management, which covers water and operating costs, but memberships and fundraising are needed to fund any infrastructure upgrades.
City of Greater Bendigo active and healthy lifestyles manager Lincoln Fitzgerald said the master plans would guide the council in creating a more integrated recreation precinct for Golden Square.
“The reserve features a major pavilion, oval, netball court, competition standard lighting, fencing, swimming pool and associated buildings, car parking and cricket nets and is home to both junior and senior football, netball and cricket,” he said.
“The development of the two master plans is important because it will provide a clear direction to Council on the development options for the reserve regardless of Council’s decision on the future of the Golden Square Swimming Pool in 2020.”
The council is seeking input from the community, with submissions accepted until November 21. Click here to get involved.
The Golden Square Pool will open this Saturday to launch the 2018/19 season with free entry from 3pm.
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