Kealy backs pool
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.