Moorabool council’s temperature-based policy that dictates the opening hours of its two outdoor pools has re-ignited calls for an indoor aquatic centre for the region.
Residents expressed their frustrations online at the sporadic timetable for the Bacchus Marsh and Ballan pools, which was released by the council last week.
Some described the opening hours as a “waste of a pool” while others said they were happy to travel out of town if it meant more time to swim.
“It really sucks that my kids can’t enjoy the Bacchus Marsh pool like I did as a kid,” one person commented on a Bacchus Marsh residents Facebook page. “Going there every day of the school holidays, getting hot chips from Grant St fish ‘n’ chips and staying there from the time they opened until the time they closed. Unfortunately, this [the policy] just sends business out of Bacchus Marsh.”
“What a waste of a pool and [it’s] never open,” another resident posted. “We need an indoor pool.”
Funding an indoor swimming pool in Bacchus Marsh has been a long-running issue for residents. Plans for a multi-million dollar facility hit a wall when state funding was announced and then scrapped in 2013.
Now residents are again floating the idea.
Balliang resident Rosa told Star Weekly she drove to Geelong to use an indoor pool there because the hours were more suitable.
“We need an indoor pool to open for longer for people who want to swim and maintain their fitness,” she said. “It’s something that our community has wanted for a long time, but [it] has never happened.”
Council’s temperature-based policy, introduced in 2015, dictates the opening hours of the two pools throughout summer, which open on December 2.
According to the policy, they will open when the temperature reaches 23 °C. Throughout December and February, they will be open for three hours only, from 3-6pm on weekdays and 1-4pm on weekends – if the temperature is between 23°C and 25°C. On days of more than 26°C, they will be open for eight hours, from 11am to 7pm.
In January, opening hours of 11am to 7pm will apply on days above 23 °C.
Belgravia Leisure managed and operated the council-owned Bacchus Marsh Leisure Centre and the Bacchus Marsh and Ballan outdoor pools for the past decade until June, when councillors agreed to take over operations.
Moorabool council was contacted for comment, but did not reply before deadline.