WHEN people ask me why I'm so passionate about Golden Square Pool, the answer is simple.
Our pool changes lives, brings people together, and creates a socially cohesive community - benefiting public health, unlike anything else that exists now or ever will in the future.
As a community since 2013, we've worked to save the pool, consolidate the effort, develop partnerships and grow what's on offer. Community development from the ground up, showing what people power can do when given a chance by local government.
It's for that reason - the remarkable journey that everyday people embarked on and have succeeded at, that makes the recommendation to close our pool in 2023, going to council next Wednesday, so incredibly disappointing.
61.1 per cent of the 1,502 respondents to the Golden Square Recreation Reserve Master Plan survey conducted in June indicated they wanted master plan option one, which had the pool stay and other users receive upgrades. Three of the current user groups also preferred this option.
We're also the cheapest subsidised pool comparatively to run in the municipality, at $2.69 per visitor. Moreover, we have demonstrated our commitment to the future time and time again to council.
As detailed in our 2020-2024 Strategic Plan, we have clear plans to undertake upgrades to the site regarding maintenance and operation in line with our leasing agreement. We've done just that for the past seven years, with a proven track record of acquiring funds and completing works.
We have 90 volunteers - the largest number in our history, increasing year-on-year. The journey over the past seven years has empowered ownership among locals, providing a real sense of meaning, purpose and commitment. This offers personal and collective capacity building of which our community benefits enormously.
Our organisation has been proactive since 2013 working with transparency and positivity to ensure we meet requirements of council and prove our viability.
It is frustrating and insulting that this proven community model and our success is not being embraced in this recommendation. The times we're living in should be example enough that community, like what we have created here, is needed to curb loneliness and health issues.
My hope for the future is that every single member of our community has the chance to grow and be inspired thanks to Golden Square Pool, just like I have. Once our pool and our community are gone, councillors - it can never be recreated.
Each week, the letter judged best of the week will win its author a $30 Coles voucher.
This week's winner is Golden Square's Rita Ree, for her letter published Thursday, July 8.
Please note our new address firstname.lastname@example.org
Letters may also be posted to the Bendigo Advertiser, PO Box 61, Bendigo 3552.
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