The City of Greater Geelong Council recently approved the continued development of Drysdale Sporting Precinct, while also noting the possibility of including a pool to the plans.
The $28 million masterplan the city endorsed at their Tuesday, May 12 council meeting is already significant in its scope.
It includes three multi-use ovals, two netball courts, a soccer pitch with competition standard lighting, a playground, a “learn to ride” cycle track, an open recreation space, and a 2.5-kilometre running track around the precinct’s perimeter.
City of Greater Geelong Mayor Stephanie Asher said a pool could be added to this list.
“The plan has also accommodated the potential for a new 50-metre pool at the site, given it has been identified as one of two shortlisted locations in Drysdale for the new aquatic facility.”
The City of Greater Geelong’s 2020-21 Proposed Budget allocates $750,000 to a “North Bellarine Aquatic Centre”.
The budget states these funds will go towards providing “a centre that will cater for the needs of a growing Northern Bellarine community and to meet the following requirements; 50m long, to be outdoors to be heated, to have a hydro-therapy section, be suitable for school students and adults, to have a meeting room, a small gym/exercise section, a rehab facility and be central to the North Bellarine.”
This is supported by federal government’s promise of $10 million towards the construction of a 50-metre outdoor pool as well as changes rooms and other facilities in the North Bellarine region.
Victorian senator Sarah Henderson pledged the funds in April 2019, when she was federal member for Corangamite. She reaffirmed the commitment in March this year, which she said was “In contrast to the current Labor member for Corangamite (Libby Coker) who refused to commit any funds to construct a new Bellarine pool before the 2019 election.”
On the Thursday after the city approved the masterplan Ms Coker said she was pleased to see the possibility of pool being added to the precinct but said the state government would only commit funding after the federal government had made their funds available.
“That is a great first step, but I’m keen for the Council to finalise the location of the 50 metre Pool as soon as possible so we can access the $10 million promised by the Commonwealth government and begin the process of seeking further funds from the Andrews Government.”
“The community is well aware that $10 million will barely build the 50 metre pool itself, let alone the other necessary elements such as a learn to swim pool, hydrotherapy and gym and all-purpose areas that will satisfy the needs of all age groups. So further funding is a must.”
Ms Coker said the progress made towards having the aquatic centre developed was a testament to those who had advocated for it. But she also emphasised the need for them to keep rallying.
“I also congratulate the community campaigners who have been fighting for a local pool for years. However, they will need to keep lobbying and campaigning as we are all aware how difficult these times are financially and how many potential projects never become ‘actual’.”
Springdale Neighbour Centre Coordinator, Anne Brackley has long been advocating for a pool in the area.
She said she was pleased the community had been heard and hoped the city continued to involve them in discussions.
“We’ve been advocating for the pool for probably 15 years since the Clifton Springs pool was decommissioned.”
“It’ still a bit tricky until we can all get together. I have contacted the City of Greater Geelong to see if there’s a chance of a public meeting via Zoom that might help our community to help with whatever the decision, they’re going to make next.”
Ms Brackley said while she thought the council depot was the better of the shortlisted locations for the pool, “We would be very happy with a pool anywhere in Drysdale.”