A way forward for our pools
WORK has begun on the development of the Strathbogie Shire Community Pools Strategy with Otium Planning Group appointed to undertake the strategy.
The Strathbogie Shire Community Pools Working Group recently met with Otium Planning Group and will provide an important reference point as the strategy advances.
Strathbogie Shire mayor and Community Pools Working Group chair Amanda McClaren said council identified the need for a strategic review of its pools after an internal assessment revealed the aging infrastructure of existing pools would require significant expenditure and upgrade in coming years.
“The strategy will look at each of the four pools and identify what opportunities exist to improve or further develop these facilities. At the completion of the strategy council and the community will have a clear vision for the longer term development of pools in the Shire,” Cr McClaren said.
The strategy is expected to be completed in early 2018 and will involve an extensive community engagement component which will build on feedback already received from the community.
“In determining future options for our pools it is necessary to consider the whole picture which includes a thorough assessment of operating and capital expenditure, patronage and the condition of existing pools. The challenge is to then balance these factors against the community’s needs and expectation.
“Our pools provide enormous benefit to our communities’ health and wellbeing and allow for valuable social and recreation experiences and so it is integral that we undertake the necessary planning to ensure both their sustainability and viability.
“There were more than 40,000 visits to the Avenel, Euroa, Nagambie and Violet Town pools during the 201617 pool season which highlights the extent to which the community enjoy and value these facilities.”
Council has started discussions to source external funding to allow for the implementation of key outcomes to come out of the strategy and will continue to lobby the State and Federal governments for future funding.
“The ability to be able to fund any future development or upgrades identified at the completion of the strategy is critical and will require a financial contribution from other levels of government,” she said.
“The Community Pools Strategy allows us to be a serious contender in future grant applications, which is necessary to move forward with any development opportunities that may be identified.”
The Community Pools Working Group was formed to look at pools within the shire holistically and have met regularly since its inception.
“I would like to sincerely thank all the volunteers involved in the Pools Working Group for their dedication, ideas and commitment to their own community pool and the wider Strathbogie Shire Pools Working Group. Their input and passion has been both valuable and inspiring,” Cr McClaren said.
The working group initiated a community survey in early 2016 which was provided to all households in the Shire and received 864 responses. A separate survey was conducted of school students within the Shire. Over 38 per cent of survey respondents ranked pools as a top five priority area for Council.
The next phase of community consultation will take place in coming months and will build on the feedback received through the initial community survey.
Cr McClaren said the group was excited to be able to draw on the knowledge and expertise of the Otium Planning Group who are industry leaders in the development of aquatic facilities across Australia and further afield.
NEW POOL PLAN: (from left) Felicity Edwards, Wendy Dustan, Strathbogie Shire chief executive officer Steve Crawcour, Kate Maddock, Cr Malcolm Little, Jasmine Kettels, Nicholas Bradley, Tiffany Ellis, Jeff Moran, John Thompson and Strathbogie Shire manager of assets Bruce Braines.