An nearly completed Gurri Wanyarra Wellbeing Centre.

More than $500,000 is still owing on two of Bendigo’s biggest projects as they near completion and organisers of community fundraising campaigns say it will be harder to raise money once they are open for business.

Memberships are already being sold for the $31 million Gurri Wanyarra aquatic centre in Kangaroo Flat but the community is still up for $400,000.

City of Greater Bendigo active and healthy communities manager Lincoln Fitzgerald said the council would cover the difference and be reimbursed as the additional funds came in. The Kangaroo Flat Community Enterprise is leading the campaign.

President Jack Lyons said the enterprise had yet to tap several major Bendigo corporations.

He said the fundraising commitment was subject to a memorandum of understanding that the enterprise would “do its best” to raise the full $1 million contribution to the centre.

“We will do our best,” he said.

Mr Fitzgerald said he expects the enterprise to uphold its commitment and ensure the remaining funds are raised.

“(The enterprise) has worked hard to raise approximately $560,000 and continues to have promising discussions with potential donors,” he said.

“The contractor will receive all funds owed to them as per the agreement of the contract and will not be impacted by the fundraising agreement.”

The project is expected to be completed by late September and pool operators Belgravia Leisure will move into the building and “learn to operate it, install additional equipment and train staff, so it is expected to open late October or early November provided there are no further significant delays”.

Weather, challenging ground conditions, design revisions and a delay in the delivery of some materials have pushed the project back by almost a year.

In the CBD, the RSL is moving into the revitalised RSL Soldier Memorial Institute but the community’s contribution to the $4.5m project exceeds $100,000 having raised more than $400,000.

It will announce a $20,000 boost today from Bendigo’s enterprise committees.

Bendigo District RSL president Peter Swandale told the Bendigo Weekly the prospect of completing the institute with a new museum was exciting but it would also increased the fundraising
challenge.

It will take the RSL until November to complete the move.

– Sharon Kemp