YMCA chief anticipates big numbers for the pool season

BALLARAT’S outdoor pool season was officially launched yesterday. 

Ballarat YMCA chief executive officer Mal Healey said he was excited for summer and anticipated Ballarat’s pools would attract in excess of 60,000 visits. 

And the weather agrees with him. The Bureau of Meteorology suggests  warm days and nights are coming our way this season.

Last year 67,894 people visited Ballarat’s five outdoor pools, up from 67,188 in 2010-11. However, the numbers compare badly to the peak year of 2006-07 when 109,232 people used the pools. But a City of Ballarat spokesperson said the attendance figures for outdoor pools were influenced by a range of factors, especially weather.

“There were only 22 days above 30 degrees across the swimming season and high rainfall,” the spokesperson said.

The City of Ballarat did not specify what numbers needed to pass through the pools’ gates this summer to keep the pools viable but did state the long-term future of each of the pools would be considered as part of the City of Ballarat Health and Wellbeing Plan, which would be developed in the new year. Last season, Eureka had by far the highest patronage, with 41,310, followed by Black Hill with 5650, Brown Hill with 6689, Buninyong with 8405 and Wendouree with 5814. 

The Eureka Pool was the first to open this year on November 2. The Stawell Street pool’s opening was delayed by a month last year due to a late management contract tender process, which was eventually awarded to the YMCA despite 39 years of prior McKenzie family management. 

Fellow YMCA-managed Black Hill, Buninyong and Wendouree pools will open from Saturday, December 1. The Brown Hill Pool, operated by the Brown Hill Progress Association, will also open on December 1.