Study finds need for north Bellarine pool

Saturday, 21 March 2020

A council-funded scoping study has confirmed a need for a swimming pool on the north Bellarine.

The independent study found residents in Drysdale, Clifton Springs, Curlewis, Portarlington and St Leonards have lower access to swimming pools than those in almost any other area of Greater Geelong. None are within a 10-minute drive of a pool.

The study found two potential sites, both in Drysdale, as the most suitable for construction of a new 50-metre outdoor pool, utilising $10 million in committed federal government funding:

  • the City of Greater Geelong Drysdale Maintenance Depot site on Collins Street (next to Christian College); and
  • the planned Drysdale Regional Sports Precinct at the intersection of Grubb Road and the new Drysdale Bypass.

The findings of the scoping study echo the feedback during consultation on the council’s draft Social Infrastructure Plan, where 47.7 per cent of respondents from Drysdale, Clifton Springs and Curlewis nominated improved access to aquatic facilities as a key need. For respondents from Portarlington, St Leonards and Indented Head, the figure was 30.8 per cent.

Based on this feedback, demand in those areas was much greater than in other parts of the region.

The scoping study found it would cost around $13.8 million to build the facility at the sports precinct site and $15.3 million at the depot site. The federal government’s $10 million contribution towards the total is contingent on a 50-metre outdoor pool.

It’s estimated operating costs would be around $100,000 per year for a seasonal non-heated pool, $580,000 for a seasonal heated pool, and $1 million for a year-round heated pool.

During Tuesday night’s meeting, councillors will discuss referring the estimated construction and operating costs for consideration as part of the 2020-21 budget and the long-term financial plan.

The study also found there’s likely to be a future need for additional facilities such as warm water pools and water play on top of the 50-metre pool to cater for forecast population growth in the area.

The full study can be found within the agenda for the Tuesday 24 March council meeting, which is now available here

In line with precautions being taken to minimise the spread of coronavirus, the meeting will not be open to members of the public. However, a live stream will be available here from 7pm.

Mayor Stephanie Asher:

The scoping study has confirmed what the Bellarine community has known for decades – that we desperately need another swimming pool.

A 50-metre outdoor pool in Drysdale wouldn’t just service residents on the north Bellarine, it would also draw lap swimmers from Ocean Grove, Barwon Heads and other nearby towns. It would reduce the pressure on the Ocean Grove pool, which is at capacity.

With the federal government’s $10 million commitment, we have the bulk of the funding to make this happen.

There’s a lot of evidence to show that swimming pools have proven benefits for community health and wellbeing. I look forward to discussing the results of the study with my fellow councillors on Tuesday night.


Page last updated: Saturday, 21 March 2020