SHOULD the City of Greater Bendigo replace the Golden Square Swimming Pool?
That is one of the options Bendigo residents are being asked to consider, as the city seeks feedback on the future of the Golden Square Recreation Reserve.
The feedback will shape a long-awaited master plan.
User groups are hopeful of achieving a win for all involved. But two of the groups have expressed concerns.
The Golden Square Swimming Pool Committee is worried about the timing, with its lease about to expire and a decision due to go before council on the day feedback closes.
The Golden Square Football Netball Club is concerned the strength of the pool's following could sway the council's decisions.
Residents have been asked to consider five options for the Golden Square Recreation Reserve's future.
One is to keep the Golden Square Swimming Pool and relocate the Golden Square Bowls and Croquet Club.
Another is to replace the Golden Square Swimming Pool "with other community facilities."
The third involves replacing the pool with other community facilities and relocating the Golden Square Bowls and Croquet Club.
Option four is to develop Backhaus Oval Reserve as Golden Square's main senior sports facilities.
The fifth option is to do nothing, working within the existing confines of the reserve and upgrading facilities where possible.
Costings have not been provided and user groups are unsure how much the council would be willing to invest.
Acquiring Backhaus Oval Reserve from the diocese might be part of the city's plan even if making it a premier venue isn't the community's preferred option.
The 20-page discussion paper shows acquiring and upgrading Backhaus Oval Reserve to be part of plans for the precinct in all but one scenario - that which the council does nothing.
The difference would be the extent of the works, with "significant investment" required to make Backhaus Oval Reserve the main senior sports facility.
Golden Square Recreation Reserve would still be needed as a secondary site in that scenario, consultants Otium Planning Group said.
The reserve is used for football, netball, cricket, and the Golden Square Swimming Pool.
The precinct encompasses the Golden Square Bowls and Croquet Club, the Bendigo Creek Trail and Golden Square Primary School.
City of Greater Bendigo Active and Healthy Lifestyles Manager Lincoln Fitzgerald the reserve was landlocked, with poor integration between the current users.
"Its facilities don't meet current standards and need to be renewed and additional facilities are required to meet growing sport participation demands," Mr Fitzgerald said.
"In addition, there is also community pressure for retaining or replacing the swimming pool with other community facilities."
He said it was important any decision on the development of the reserve considered the proposed vision for the site.
"While the city owns the built assets on the reserve including the swimming pool, the bowls facility is owned and managed privately by the Golden Square Bowls and Croquet Club," Mr Fitzgerald said.
The Golden Square Swimming Pool is managed by the Golden Square Swimming Pool Committee.
The Golden Square Football and Netball Club, Golden Square Junior Football Club and Golden Square Cricket Club have seasonal tenancy agreements for use of the sports reserve.
Golden Square Primary School book the use of the sports oval and swimming pool.
"The user groups have a long-standing relationship and use of the reserve and all groups have contributed respectfully to the planning process by identifying challenges and their current and future needs," Mr Fitzgerald said.
"The users have collectively contributed ideas for improvements that have helped inform the development options for the master plan."
Golden Square Bowls and Croquet Club past president Tas Wallis said the club would be willing to relocate within Golden Square if the city offered the right deal.
"Bendigo is the only big city outside of Melbourne that hasn't got undercover bowling greens," Mr Wallis said.
He said the Bendigo Bowls Division had invested in a feasibility study, but the city kept putting off any real progress towards development.
"They've got to make a decision," Mr Wallis said.
Golden Square Football Netball Club president Brendan Stewart also believed a decision was necessary.
An online petition calling for certainty has more than 500 signatures.
Female change facilities are among the club's most pressing needs.
The club questioned the need to invest in the Golden Square Pool to the extent required long-term when there was a $32m pool less than two kilometres away that catered for swimmers year-round.
The Golden Square Swimming Pool is more than 100 years old and requires major work, which its committee of management is already planning for.
Committee president Sam Kane welcomed a long-term decision on the pool's future.
"From our perspective, that decision should be with the pool being retained," Mr Kane said.
Golden Square Cricket Club president Ian Kellett said the club was not in favour of any user group losing.
He believed meeting the needs of all was possible.
"It's about having a long-term vision," Mr Kellett said.
"But that costs money. It depends how much council is prepared to spend."
Feedback is due by June 17, which also happens to be the date of this month's council meeting.
"The information collected will be used to inform the development of a final Master Plan for the reserve for the council's consideration," Mr Fitzgerald said.