Ballarat City Council approved $400,000 to fix a major leak at the Eureka Aquatic Centre at an ordinary general meeting on Wednesday night.
Councillors questioned staff about the leak and why the cost of fixing it required such a huge budget allocation.
However council community development director Neville Ivey said $400,000 was a conservative estimate for how much it would likely cost to fix the problem.
“We have acknowledged that is a lot of money, but it is conservative and that will certainly be the top end,” he said.
“The fix may be significantly less than $400,000, it appears at this stage we may have a work around that will cost significantly less.”
Mr Ivey said the pool was old and leaking was normal, but after a “patch” job was done following the 2016-17 summer, continued monitoring showed the pool was still losing water.
“Probably for a three month period we measured that leak, and it certainly increased,” he said, “once they probe these things they might find something more sinister, but as I said, the pool is certainly fixable for a reduced amount, and for the commencement of the 2018 season.”
A staff report on all of Ballarat City’s pools also showed the running costs and patronage levels for the last four summers.
Cr Des Hudson said pools were an important community asset despite their significant cost to council.
“What we have also seen over time is the introduction of splash parks, both in the North and South ward, that have great opportunities for families to go and be able to cool off,” he said.
He also asked if removing the lip of the pool, which sits higher than the water level, could be potentially completed while the leak was also being fixed.
Council’s report also said there had been less swimming carnivals during the 2016-17 season.
Pools built with an edge level to the water are preferred for meets, because they create less waves than pools with high edges.
Mr Ivey said other pools in the municipality had also increased patronage with music events, which would also be possible to implement at the Eureka Aquatic Centre.
“Promoting Friday discos and things like that - it is less about the infrastructure and more about activating the space,” he said.
“We did this with the Black Hill pool, it worked for a little while, then dropped off significantly.
“But that is not to say it wouldn’t work – the Buninyong community has plans to do exactly (similar events to that). There are still really good options, I believe with not a lot of money, to partner with the community as well for events.”