Eureka Aquatic Centre leak to cost thousands

A major leak at the Eureka Aquatic Centre pool could cost Ballarat City Council $400,000 to repair in time for summer.

Minor works were completed on what was thought to be a small issue in February and March.

However recent checks found a significant amount of water was still being leaked.

Council community development director Neville Ivey said the pool was expected to be ready for the start of the summer swim season.

“If the budget allocation is approved, works will commence later this week,” he said.

“The City of Ballarat recognises the value of outdoor pools as important community facilities, and continues to invest in the upkeep and maintenance required.”

Council will vote on approving the $400,000 fix at its ordinary meeting on Wednesday night.

Cr Ben Taylor said there was little choice but to approve the spend because it would only get worse.

Ditchy's view

Ditchy's view

“I question why couldn’t we do it at the end of the pool season, but the answer is the leak was known about but not as bad,” he said.

“This was serious and only came about in the last few months.

“We want to make it a minimal impact, so worst case is there a slight delay of a couple of weeks (to the 2017-18 season), but we have to jump on it now.”

Cr Taylor said the longer a leak is left, the more damage it will cause, and the more it will then cost to fix.

A council report said it was not uncommon for older pools to leak water.

The aquatic centre opened in 1972.

The report also detailed attendance numbers and costs at the Black Hill, Brown Hill and Buninyong aquatic centres in 2016-17.

Poor weather days shut the Black Hill and Buninyong pools on 23 occasions, while there were less school carnivals hosted at Eureka Aquatic Centre.

As a result, only the Black Hill Aquatic Centre recorded an increase in patronage, with the others reporting slight declines.

Eureka also proved the most expensive to run after it cost council $260,114, while the other three cost between $32,000 and $40,000.

All three received a combined 61,661 patrons during the 2016-17 summer, down from 68,854 the year before.

Some Black Hill residents were escorted out of Ballarat Town Hall during a meeting when council voted to close the community’s pool in August, 2014, but a year later the decision was reversed.