Pool name battle rolls on

Sharon Kemp | Bendigo Weekly | 08-Dec-2017

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CONTROVERSY surrounding the naming of the near-complete aquatic centre at Kangaroo Flat refuses to go away as City of Greater Bendigo councillors seek to rename the historic Bendigo aquatic centre after the Olympian Faith Leech, the name which was expected to adorn the new centre.


Comments in the council agenda for next Wednesday are dominated by negative commentary around councillors’ choice two months ago to name the Kangaroo Flat facility the Gurri Wanyarra Wellbeing Centre.


Five of the nine submissions during last month’s public comment period allude to council ignoring the wishes of residents.


Council had asked for comment specifically relating to the name change at the Barnard Street centre.


“It is waste of time putting any submissions to the council because you simply do what you want anyway,” one submission said.


“Public opinion didn’t want the new pool named Gurri Wanyarra but we still got it anyway, so why bother about getting submissions for naming the (Bendigo) aquatic centre.”


Another submitter said they were so disappointed about the name of the Kangaroo Flat centre, they would choose not to go there.


But the agenda included details of the legacy the Leech family wanted for their mother, Faith, who won gold at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics in the pool.


“The Leech family want to ensure young people are able to learn more about Faith’s achievements and be inspired by her story of overcoming serious health issues, including curvature of the spine, to triumph at the highest level,” council officers wrote in their report to councillors.


“The aquatic centre on Barnard Street remains the most suitable venue for major swimming carnivals due to its ability to accommodate temporary seating catering for more than 800 spectators.


 “A recent example includes the Victorian Country Championships, the pinnacle of long-course event swimming in Victoria, which was held at Bendigo Aquatic Centre.


“School swimming carnivals, which require large participant and spectator capacity, could not be accommodated at Gurri Wanyarra Wellbeing Centre.”


The Bendigo centre also has space to accommodate memorabilia showcasing Ms Leech’s achievements.


Councillors next Wednesday night will also vote to accept a 1200-strong petition calling for a school crossing supervisor for Epsom Primary School, the erection of a telecommunications tower near the Neangar Park Golf Club and approval for the first stage of construction of the Aspire faith precinct.

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