Pool at a standstill

By Evelyn Leckie

THE DREAM for a 50-metre pool in Mernda has come to a standstill, after the City of Whittlesea Council voted to only consider pool length options once the overall Mernda Aquatic Centre and Indoors Sports Centre masterplans were finalised.

A report presented at this month’s council meeting showed a 50-metre pool would cost council $60 million, whereas a 25-metre pool would cost just over $49 million.

Cr Tom Joseph moved the motion to wait on the master plan, saying council needed to get it right.

“This is a huge investment which Whittlesea will make in Mernda,” Cr Joseph said.

“We need to get the planning right – as part of the swimming development …there’s no facilities for netball and basketball.

“We need to cater to the need for all sporting groups, we need to have the masterplan ready and look at it from a holistic approach.”

In July this year, a petition for a 50-metre pool was tabled with more than 1600 signatures requesting an Olympic-sized pool.

Extend the Pool in Mernda campaign leader Ryan Hogan said he was disappointed with the standstill.

“Councillors voted to get a cost and price for pool options, and they’ve elected to do nothing,” Mr Hogan said.

“The petition was presented and it’s been ignored – one of the largest petitions ever presented to council.

“That’s the result – we’re not being guaranteed a 50-metre pool.

“It makes you wonder about the strength of a petition and approaching council.”

Mr Hogan said the pool was not a political football and it was important for the young demographic of the area.

“Every kid goes to school and there’s no facility for them to have a school carnival, they’re travelling to Oak Park for their swimming carnival, it’s an hour and half each way wasted,” he said.

“We’re not getting anywhere. We’ll be voting for councillors who support the 50-metre pool in the next local government election.”