There’s one paragraph in the City of Greater Bendigo agenda report considered by councillors at Wednesday’s meeting that pretty much says it all.
“Staff have met with Golden Square Swimming Pool Inc. on a number of occasions to discuss their desire to continue operating. The Committee is aware of the recommendation of this report but believe the health and wellbeing benefits of the site is greater than the financial cost of providing the service,” the report stated.
“It is their desire that council strongly consider these benefits in making the decision and acknowledge their strong administrative and attendance performance. This includes their work to repair and operate the facility, the significant increase in attendance data, community events held and learn to swim classes offered.“
The final vote by councillors shows they were prepared to listen to the community and to continue to work with them while the eventual fate of the popular Golden Square community pool is
It was/is a victory for the people, and the City of Greater Bendigo councillors moved swiftly at Wednesday night’s meeting to allay fears the pool may be forced to close in the next few months.
The pool and its band of supporters still face uncertainty and the prospect that the popular Golden Square pool will one day close – it’s just at the moment, none of us know when.
While the committee has been given at least a two-year stay of execution, should there be any significant problems, council and the committee of management will have few options other than to call time on the peoples’ pool.
Throughout the past couple of weeks as the issue once again came to a head, there have been reminders that Bendigo has more aquatic facilities than any other Victorian
And so we should.
We are after all the second largest inland regional city in Australia. We are a long way from the ocean, we enjoy a warm summer climate and there are a limited number of alternative places to swim close by.
Council officers must now look at ways to carve out $100,000 across the next two budget years to continue the organisation’s critical support for the Golden Square pool.
Meanwhile, the people of Golden Square and the surrounding neighbourhoods need to vote with their feet and continue to support the facility.
That said, the nearby Gurri Wanyarra Wellbeing Centre is due to open later this year, and there is no doubt this will be a temptation to many swimmers and water lovers in the months ahead.
The local residents who brought a lot of passion and determination to the issue deserved to be congratulated for their approach and for what they have done and will by all accounts continue to do at Golden Square each and every summer.
But councillors too deserve a pat on the back for showing they are prepared to listen, to consider all options, and in this case, to work with the relevant community group on a matter that means so much to so many people.