THE City of Greater Bendigo has recommended the Golden Square Swimming Pool be decommissioned at the end of the 2022-23 season.
It comes as the city develops a master plan for the Golden Square Recreation Reserve.
Five options were floated during consultation for the proposed master plan.
They included keeping the pool open and relocating the Golden Square Bowls and Croquet Club; replacing the Golden Square Swimming Pool "with other community facilities"; replacing the pool with other community facilities and relocating the Golden Square Bowls and Croquet Club; and developing Backhaus Oval Reserve as Golden Square's main senior sports facilities.
The fifth option was to do nothing, working within the existing confines of the reserve and upgrading facilities where possible.
The city has suggested councillors back the recommendation to proceed with the development option that included relocating the bowls and croquet club and decommissioning the pool.
The proposed timeframe to decommission the pool was the end of the 2022/23 season.
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The city recommended councillors acknowledge the Golden Square Swimming Pool committee's great work.
It suggested the council work with the pool's committee to "identify opportunities to ensure the reserve continues to deliver on the aims of the vision and provide a space that provides for not only formal sport, but also social and family gathering, unstructured play and activity, and community events".
Bendigo council is expected to come to a decision when it meets next Wednesday.
The first option - to retain the pool and relocate the bowls and croquet club - was preferred by the 1502 respondents to a community survey.
More than 61 per cent of respondents favoured that option. The second most popular option was the one the city recommended councillors choose.
The city said consultants Otium Planning Group recommended Option Three - closing the pool and relocating the bowls and croquet club - because it was "more closely aligned to council's agreed levels of service."
The option the people favoured also had "higher long-term operational, maintenance and asset renewal costs and represents a higher risk to council."
Having a volunteer-run committee at the helm of the pool was one of the risks the consultants identified.
"Despite being well led, the obligations of operations managing, maintaining and renewing pools is very high and this volunteer energy and commitment will need to be maintained in the long-term to meet operator obligations," the city wrote in this month's meeting agenda.
"The success of the pool committee is reliant on leaderships and successes of the volunteer group and Otium's research trends indicate that volunteers become tired and then decline over time.
"This presents a risk to council, for at these times the obligations to run the pool often falls [sic] to council."
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The pool committee was "strongly in favour" of the pool remaining open, when consulted on the five options.
"The pool committee feel Option 1 is the only option that provides an opportunity for people in the Golden Square community who are not interested in other organised sports, to look after their physical health, fitness and social and mental wellbeing," the consultants wrote in their draft master plan.
"The pool committee believe they provide a vibrant community space and organisation that has taken eight years to establish, that could be difficult to recreate."
The bowls and croquet club also preferred Option 1.
The report stated the junior football and netball club was in favour of Option 1, while the senior football and netball club preferred Option 3.
The cricket club also preferred Option 3.
Costings were not provided when stakeholders were choosing their preferences.
However, documents released ahead of the council meeting indicate Option 1 would be $4.66-million more expensive than Option 3.
Option 1 would cost $15,625,281.
It includes $6.275-million for the renewal of Golden Square Swimming Pool, including the 50m pool, toddler pool, plant and services.
The city would spend additional money on change rooms for the pool.
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Golden Square Pool committee president Sam Kane said volunteers were "incredibly disappointed" by the city's recommendation to councillors.
"We feel this recommendation ignores the wishes of the community as, in the survey that was completed, 61 per cent said they wanted option 1," he said.
The committee also felt comments about the risks posed by the volunteer-run nature of the pool committee were "just a direct insult" to the commitment and dedication volunteers had shown over the past seven years.
"We've proven time and time again to the city our volunteers are in it for the long haul," Mr Kane said.
He said the committee's strategic plan provided for governance, including succession planning and a change in operation.
"We would urge councillors who respond to that to think about the community and what is going to be lost if the decision is voted up," Mr Kane said.
The need for a decision on the future of the recreation reserve has been broadly acknowledged by user groups, councillors and about 665 signatories to a petition.
The petitioners were specifically calling for a decision on the future of the pool.
The Golden Square Pool has been under threat of closure for about 10 years.
A number of councillors expressed concerns at the June meeting about the way the decision had been handled.