Council has agreed to consider funding the construction and operation of a new swimming pool on the North Bellarine as part of its 2020-21 Budget and long-term financial plan.
Councillors made the decision after an independent scoping study 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.
Work will now begin to decide the preferred location and operating model.
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.
Councillor Stephanie Asher - Mayor
The results of the scoping study are clear and councillors are in agreement that there’s a clear need for a swimming pool on the North Bellarine. The case for this project is now undeniable.
We now need to decide on a location and operating model, and get construction started as quickly as possible. The people of the Bellarine need this facility and they’ve been waiting a long time for it.
Councillor Trent Sullivan - Bellarine Ward
The scoping study shows that there are only six towns or suburbs in our region that are not within 10 minutes of a swimming pool, and five of those are on the North Bellarine.
A pool in Drysdale will address that gap and give the local community access to a facility they’ve been asking for for many years. It’s time we get this project started.