Black Hill families to fight for pool as council eyes closure

Daniel and Eve Cassidy, along with their dad Leigh, are calling on council to keep the Black Hill pool open. PICTURE: JEREMY BANNISTER

Daniel and Eve Cassidy, along with their dad Leigh, are calling on council to keep the Black Hill pool open. PICTURE: JEREMY BANNISTER

THE Black Hill community is fighting to see its pool saved. 

The City of Ballarat’s 2014 draft aquatic strategy recommends the closure of the Black Hill Swimming Pool, due to declining patronage and its proximity to the Brown Hill Swimming Pool. 

Black Hill Primary School council president Leigh Cassidy said the school’s view was it was an important asset to the community and the school. 

Mr Cassidy and the principal met with the city council last week. 

He said in their meeting with council, they were told it was now up to the community to have a voice. 

“If we as a community want the pool retained, we’ve got to have our say.

“Why was the draft strategy made in the first place without community consultation, instead of it being made then community consultation being sought?”

Mr Cassidy has two children in grades 2 and 5 who attend the school. He has lived in Black Hill since 1997. 

“We’ve discussed it with (the children). They want it to remain open. 

“They swim there regularly with school as well as meet friends there outside of school."

He said if Black Hill pool was closed, his family wouldn’t go to the pool as much. 

“It’s so close and convenient and we like the fact that it’s smaller,” he said. 

“You can sit close to the pool and see what your kids are doing.”

Mr Cassidy said his children were a bit young to go to the pool by themselves, walking or riding their bikes down. 

“But in a couple of years they might be able to, but there may not be the pool for them to walk down to. 

“The fact that it’s a smallish facility we love. It’s an environment the kids know and they feel safe in. 

“The Eureka pool is enormous. There isn’t the same community feel there.”

He said with council investing millions into the Ballarat Aquatic and Lifestyle Centre, and the 6.5 per cent rate increase, it didn’t add up that they wanted to close a pool that cost $80,000 a year to operate. 

“I’m not sure how it’s encouraging a healthy lifestyle, to take a community infrastructure that encourages physical activity, and assume it’s easy to get to another pool.

“I haven’t spoken to anyone who’s not in favour of keeping the pool.”

Eight-year-old Eve Cassidy said it was a good pool that both big and little kids could play in.

Daniel Cassidy, 10, said he liked that there was shade and he could go down and see his friends there. 

The draft strategy is available for public comment on the council’s website at ballarat.vic.gov.au/haveyoursay/aquatics-in-ballarat.aspx.

nicole.cairns@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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