Pool committee 'aggrieved' at time wasted by last-minute depth decision

A community committee invested hours of time and effort to determine the best design for Ballarat’s 50m pool and members were dismayed when the council did not listen.

Deputy mayor Des Hudson yesterday revealed members of the 50m pool advisory committee were “aggrieved” after volunteering hours of their time to back a variable depth pool.

Instead, councillor John Burt drove a last-minute bid for a uniform 1.85m depth and the design won the support of the council this month.

At Wednesday’s ordinary meeting Cr Hudson, a member of the 50m advisory committee, tabled a report to highlight the exhaustive steps taken.

He told The Courier the committee wanted the information released publicly so the council would be fully aware of the time and effort involved.

“There was a lot of consideration, a lot of discussion held by the people who had given up their time for the advisory committee,” Cr Hudson said.

“One committee member said it cost him every time, due to time off work, and why did he bother when the council did not listen.

“At the end of the day councillors are empowered to make final decisions.”

The 50m pool advisory committee included three councillors, representatives of the YMCA and swimming clubs and prominent local swimming identities.

The tabled document sets out the minuted process that supported the recommendation of the consultative group.

Cr Hudson said a variable depth pool was debated as early as August 9 and raised again on August 16.

Committee members discussed making the pool a 1.85m constant depth on October 18 and determined that a variable depth remained preferable.

After receiving a letter from Cr Burt on February 14, they again held a vote and again backed a 1.35m to 1.85m facility.

The council did an about-turn on the issue at its March 12 meeting, paving the way for indoor pool with a constant depth of 1.85 metres.

The councillors’ vote split five to four, with councillors Joshua Morris, Vicki Coltman, Samantha McIntosh, Amy Johnson and John Burt all voting for the change.

Ballarat Aquatic Project Consultative Committee minutes

August 2: Briefing on pool depth options.

August 9: Agreed that no less than 1.35m depth at shallow end. Discussion re requirement for 1.85m and extent that it continue through the pool. Eg 25m, 30m, or 33m.

August 16: Determined that 1.85m for 33m provides ability for a range of events with 1.35m for 15m. Change of depth to occur over 2m length at the 35-33m position.

October 18: Discussion of option to make pool 1.85m constant depth. Group determined that variable depth remained preferable.

December 13: Tender briefing – no discussion re pool depth.

February 14: Discussion of tabled letter from Cr Burt. Recommendation of committee to continue with variable depth option.

rachel.afflick@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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