BALLARAT should take the plunge and commit to the development of an indoor 50m pool, Swimming Victoria chief executive Warwick Waters said yesterday.
Mr Waters said a state-of-the-art indoor pool facility was an essential piece of sporting infrastructure for the city’s athletes and community groups and would provide economic and sporting benefits.
“A world-class facility is critical and to have an indoor, 12 month a year pool is important not only for Ballarat and the region but for our organisation to bring state and regional competitions here,” he said.
“It would be an important facility to support the other regional sporting centres in Ballarat.”
While significant planning on cost, location and scale would be required before construction of a new facility could begin, Mr Waters said the pool’s development would benefit both elite sport and community health.
Ballarat’s swimming community is preparing an aquatic strategy and working as part of the master plan process for the $80 million Ballarat Sports and Entertainment Precinct.
Mr Waters said it was too early to know the price tag on a 50m indoor facility, but a new aquatic centre set to host water polo, diving and swimming in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs will cost $48 million.
“The scale depends on how much the community is willing to spend but the discussion should be had,” Mr Waters said.
Councillor Judy Verlin said it was “all systems go” for the master plan process and the aquatic strategy but no timeline was set.
“The conversations I have had with some of the stakeholders and swimming groups have been positive but they are yet to determine exactly where a pool should be located,” she said.
“We are continuing those discussions and the work on future options is underway, with the next stage being to look at the whole aquatic strategy and determine what that might mean for our current pools.”
Cr Verlin said the strategy discussions would engage closely with the aquatic groups and swimmers to achieve the best outcome.
In March, The Courier reported that City of Ballarat councillors would ensure the needs of small sporting faculties were considered in the development of a new 50m indoor pool.
Ballarat Gold Swimming Club president Anthony Hoffmann offered his support for a pool as part of the major events precinct master plan.
He said the proposed development would lift the profile of swimming in Ballarat and provide better facilities throughout the year.