Study finds need for north Bellarine pool

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.

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