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  • Pool for next summer

    2019 - 02.21

    The pool refurbishment tender has been awarded and Mayor Cr Paul Hooper is pictured going over plans with Rhonda Holz, Kylie Walker, Maddy Vernon and Ambrose Cashin. Picture: PETER PICKERINGAFTER a community campaign of almost four years, with the aim of re-opening the Ararat Outdoor Olympic Swimming Pool, work on the redevelopment is expected to begin soon.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Ararat Rural City Council has awarded the tender to refurbish the pool to Farley Pools and works are expected to commence soon in preparation for the pool to open in time for the 2015/2016 summer season.

    The design for the new kiosk, changerooms and public toilet facility is also underway and this new building is expected to be located to the north side of the pool providing access to the pool from the gardens and use of the kiosk by users of the gardens who will also be able to utilise the facilities.

    Incorporated in the designs are new public toilets for Alexandra Gardens to replace the existing toilets.

    While council is still to receive confirmation of funding for the kiosk and changerooms, Premier Daniel Andrews came good on his election promise to award $350,000 for this facility with an announcement in last Tuesday’s State Budget that funding would be available.

    Following closure of the pool due to safety reasons for the 2011/2012 swimming season, a public meeting was held in February 2012 at Alexandra Oval to rally community support and around 1500 residents attended concerned that the pool would be closed permanently. This prompted the formation of the Save Our Pool Committee.

    Public support continued with a rally in Barkly Street in October 2013, again attracting a huge crowd of around 1500 people.

    At one stage council voted to demolish the pool but public outcry again saw the pool back on the agenda and finally, last year, Council agreed throw its support behind re-opening the pool and formed a Project Control Group, including representatives from the Pool Committee and Council officers, to manage the process.

    Council also restated its commitment to provide $450,000 funding, based on the understanding the $350,000 balance will be provided by the party elected at last year’s State Government election and that all remaining funds would be able to be provided by the Pool Committee.

    Ambrose Cashin, who spearheaded the campaign to reopen and redevelop the pool after it was originally closed, is thrilled that work is finally about to begin.

    “It just shows you after many years of hard work, works are about to start on the redevelopment and refurbishment of the Ararat Outdoor Olympic Swimming Pool, in what will be a great amenity for the whole community and we aim to be swimming there in December 2015,” Mr Cashin said.

    Mr Cashin thanked the community for its support, the contractors and businesses who have offered in-kind works and donated money and also, since the project was finally approved, the council officers who have worked alongside the pool committee.

    “The expertise and help from all the council officers involved in the project has just been truly amazing and so beneficial in getting this project up,” Mr Cashin said.

    “What we saw as problems they were able to deal with … and work together to come up with what I see as a magnificent facility.

    “It just shows when we all work together, when the community works together, local government works together, and then the Daniel Andrews Labor government comes in to assist at the end, by everyone working together, much can be achieved.

    “I remember way back when this project kicked off someone saying, small communities working together can achieve great things, and I think this is a fine example of this occurring.

    “From primary school kids donating their pocket money and their sausage sizzle money, secondary school kids doing it and also secondary school kids in senior years questioning the council and saying how they believed that we need it, to young parents wanting it and then to the senior generation who were involved in the original building of it demanding that we continue to work for it

    “At times when the committee was doing it tough and feeling ‘is it worth it?’ the continual support coming from the community members made it worth it.

    “This project has been driven by the community, they’re the ones who have continually, over four years, made it clear to both council and government that they want this facility, they believe that Ararat can’t afford to lose any of its amenities and this will be a great asset for the whole of Ararat.”

    Mr Cashin said the multipurpose area will include the changerooms and kiosk area, and will be available for use 12 months of the year.

    “It’s use is going to be more versatile and not just restricted to the pool swimming season,” he said.

    Mr Cashin praised the council officers for their work over the past few months.

    “Their enthusiasm matches ours and we’ve just got to take our hats of to the help we’ve had from the council officers in doing this because it’s going to happen and it’s going to be viable and it’s going to be a great asset for this Ararat community.”

    From what was originally touted as a $4.1 million project Mr Cashin said the pool committee, working with the community through offers of in-kind contributions from contractors and businesses, and council, had now brought that project cost down to about $1.1 million.

    The Pool Committee is also continuing to raise funds and has to date received around $78,000 in pledges. Anyone wishing to donate to the pool fund can do so through the Bendigo bank. The committee’s goal is to raise $100,000.

    With the tender now awarded, Mr Cashin and the pool committee are excited to see work start on the pool.

    While areas of the original proposal have had to be scrapped due to costs at this stage, including installing a ‘wet deck,’ works will including repairing the pool itself, which is structurally sound.

    “It’s still in good knick, but it’s a tired pool in need of refurbishing, but the standard our forefathers put into building that pool has made it such a viable proposition to keep,” Mr Cashin said.

    “The level of workmanship that they put in is something that we should all be proud of and thankful that they’ve done.”

    It was originally intended to demolish the old changerooms, but the cost of making it safe will see the building secured and left as is.

    A new plant room will be built over where the old toddlers pool currently is. On the gardens side of the pool there will be a new children’s water play and the new multipurpose facility.

    With just seven months until the pool can be used, Mr Cashin said the support of the community is what has enabled the pool committee’s dreams become reality.

    “It is truly a people’s project. People have said it’s like Ararat’s version of ‘The castle’ – and it’s going to work,” he said.

    “What I’ve learned from this is that nothing is unachievable.”

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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