NEARLY every council-owned swimming pool has been earmarked for destruction in a controversial Campaspe Shire proposal, which will come before council on Wednesday night.
Residents were quick to organise and rally to save their local pools on Friday evening, just hours after the council's meeting agenda went online.
Lockington resident Kris Munro said the speed of the decision-making and lack of community consultation was alarming.
"This is our town and we have to stand up for it. We have to fight to save our assets,'' she said.
The proposal is for the council to close five of its eight swimming pools in a few weeks, and two more in just a couple of years.
The targeted facilities are: Colbinabbin, Lockington, Rushworth, Stanhope and Tongala pools which are recommended to be closed and decommissioned at the end of the 2021/22 outdoor pool season.
The Kyabram and Rochester pools are recommended to be closed and decommissioned at the end of the 2024/25 pool season.
The agenda states that the council decided in 2016 to close the pools in 2021, but residents said council was meant to do a lot of community consultation and investigate other options for the facilities in the intervening years.
"They tried to close our pool in 2016 and we fought it,'' Ms Munro said.
Concerned residents were able to quickly produce the signs they used last time, to protest moves to close the facility.
The council agenda points to the cost of maintaining the pools and the existence of the indoor aquatic facility at Echuca as the main reasons for the recommendations.
"On average the age of the pools is 50+ years, and ranges from 18 to 85 years old,'' it said.
Colbinabbin resident and mother of three Carlie Ryan said many families would not be able to drive to Echuca for swimming lessons and many children would likely go without.
"It is outrageous to do this on a Friday afternoon and to target so many pools at once," she said.
"They should be working with other councils to lobby the State Government for funding to save other pools that are coming to the end of their working lives.
"In our community it's not just about kids learning to swim but also about the social connections in a rural area which is really important for mental health and well-being."
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