Council dives into potential pool

April 2, 2020 BY

The Drysdale Regional Sports Precinct - stage one of which already exists - is a potential site for a pool on the north Bellarine.

AN INDEPENDENT scoping study has confirmed a need for a swimming pool on the north Bellarine, with two sites identified as potential homes.
The City of Greater Geelong council agreed during a March 24 meeting to consider funding the construction and operation of a new swimming pool, as part of its 2020-21 budget and long-term financial plan.
The independent study found residents in Drysdale, Clifton Springs, Curlewis, Portarlington and St Leonards have lower access to swimming pools than those in almost any other area of greater Geelong; none are within a 10-minute drive of a pool.
The study found two potential sites, both in Drysdale, as the most suitable for construction of a new 50-metre outdoor pool, using $10 million in committed federal government funding: the City of Greater Geelong Drysdale Maintenance Depot site on Collins Street (next to Christian College); and the planned Drysdale Regional Sports Precinct at the intersection of Grubb Road and the new Drysdale Bypass.
Geelong mayor Stephanie Asher said the results of the study are clear and councillors were in agreement that there’s a clear need for a swimming pool.
“The case for this project is now undeniable. We now need to decide on a location and operating model, and get construction started as quickly as possible. The people of the Bellarine need this facility and they’ve been waiting a long time for it,” Cr Asher said.
Community feedback on council’s draft Social Infrastructure Plan, showed 47.7 per cent of respondents from Drysdale, Clifton Springs and Curlewis nominated improved access to aquatic facilities as a key need, with Portarlington, St Leonards and Indented Head registering 30.8 per cent.
Based on this feedback, demand in those areas was much greater than in other parts of the region, the scoping study found it would cost around $13.8 million to build the facility at the sports precinct site and $15.3 million at the depot site.
The federal government’s $10 million contribution towards the total is contingent on a 50-metre outdoor pool.
Victorian Senator Sarah Henderson said the benefits of a new aquatic facility on the Bellarine Peninsula and the broader region are now “beyond dispute”.
“Not only is this aquatic facility vital to teach children to swim, it’s also an essential asset for local schools and clubs as well as for community health and well-being.
“I look forward to working with the city of Greater Geelong as it completes the work on identifying the best site in Drysdale.”
It’s estimated operating costs would be around $100,000 per year for a seasonal non-heated pool, $580,000 for a seasonal heated pool, and $1 million for a year-round heated pool.
Work will now begin to decide the preferred location and operating model, the study also found there’s likely to be a future need for additional facilities such as warm water pools and water play on top of the 50-metre pool to cater for forecast population growth in the area.
Cr Trent Sullivan said the study highlighted there are only six town or suburbs in the region that are not within 10 minutes of a swimming pool.
“Five of those are on the north Bellarine. A pool in Drysdale will address that gap and give the local community access to a facility they’ve been asking for, for many years. It’s time we get this project started.”

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