Kealy backs pool

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Front Page - BY DEAN LAW­SON

Hor­sham’s historic War Me­mo­rial Swim­ming Pool and its sur­rounds would be the sub­ject of ma­jor re­de­vel­op­ment if Mem­ber for Lowan Emma Kealy had her way.

Ms Kealy said the out­door area of Hor­sham Aquatic Cen­tre, in­clud­ing the Olympic-sized pool, was a project wait­ing to hap­pen.

She said she be­lieved ex­pand­ing the cen­tre to in­cor­po­rate a ‘splash park’ with at­trac­tions that ap­pealed to ev­ery­one from swim­mers to fam­i­lies and tourists, seemed an ob­vi­ous move for­ward.

“It is some­thing Hor­sham Ru­ral City Coun­cil has ex­plored and has plans for and now might be the time to get things mov­ing fur­ther,” she said.

Ms Kealy said she could clearly see the po­ten­tial for such de­vel­op­ment and, given the op­por­tu­nity, would strongly ad­vo­cate for grant money to pay for a ma­jor project. “If we could do this, it would fit neatly into a long-held po­si­tion pro­moted by the Na­tion­als in Lowan, that we need to get more peo­ple to get more ac­tive, more of­ten,” she said.

Ms Kealy said the Hor­sham coun­cil had rightly ex­am­ined the po­ten­tial of mod­ernising such a ma­jor com­mu­nity as­set.

“There has been a lot of de­bate about the fu­ture of Hor­sham’s out­door pool, even to a point where there have been sug­ges­tions that for what it costs to op­er­ate, it might have passed its useby date,” she said.

“I don’t see it that way. We should con­sider this a won­der­ful as­set, not a bur­den, so it might be that to move for­ward it might sim­ply need a fresh fo­cus and some out­side-the-square think­ing.

“This is an as­set wait­ing to move for­ward to meet the de­mands of an evolv­ing Hor­sham and Wim­mera.”

Ms Kealy said the cen­tre’s historic pool re­mained an iconic part of Wim­mera recre­ational his­tory, but so­ci­ety needs were for­ever evolv­ing.

“We don’t want to see it sit idle let alone lose it. But it might be time to give it a new lease of life,” she said.

“While it might be im­por­tant to main­tain a com­mu­nity pool for or­gan­ised sport and lap swim­mers, times sug­gest this might not be enough to meet the needs of the gen­eral pop­u­la­tion and, crit­i­cally, vis­i­tors.”

“We’ve thought of the Hor­sham out­door pool as some­where for peo­ple of the town and district to gain respite from a hot sum­mer and for gen­eral swim­ming,” Ms Kealy said.

“But per­haps we should be think­ing about it as much as an eco­nomic driver that we can use to at­tract peo­ple to the Wim­mera.

“If you think about it, there are many places across the coun­try that hang their tourist hat on their aquatic ser­vices and at­trac­tions.

“If more fund­ing be­came avail­able, there is lit­tle rea­son why this could not hap­pen in our part of the world.

“Hor­sham Ru­ral City Coun­cil has a plan in place for this type of de­vel­op­ment and it needs fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion and buy-in from the com­mu­nity.

“This looms as the kind of project we need to look at to grow the Wim­mera to not only sup­port lo­cal peo­ple but also to stim­u­late op­por­tu­ni­ties for tourism and growth.”

An over­all Hor­sham Aquatic Mas­ter Plan in­volves a $6.24-mil­lion de­vel­op­ment that in­cludes ex­ten­sive out­door as well as in­door fea­tures.

The coun­cil al­ready has fund­ing to push ahead with ma­jor im­prove­ments to the aquatic cen­tre’s out­door pool.

This in­cludes cre­ation of a wet deck and con­course and the in­stal­la­tion of in­te­rior pool skin.

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