DAYLESFORD's pool and the surrounding green space is set to be transformed as part of a $1.5 million upgrade.
The Daylesford Aquatic and Civic Plaza Precinct project was recently granted $500,000 funding through the state government's Regional Infrastructure Fund, in order to deliver a new Civic Plaza as part of a greater vision to create more community spaces within the town.
The entire project is estimated to cost $1,532,992. The pool upgrade will be funded by $200,000 through Sports and Recreation Victoria (SRV), while $500,000 from Regional Development Victoria (RDV) will be used to create the civic plaza.
Hepburn Shire Council will also inject $832,992 into the project.
Mayor, Cr Licia Kokocinski, said the works would transform the precinct and provide an improved visitor experience.
After the pool upgrade, it will be an inclusive, family friendly and shaded area. It will include a new kiosk, family friendly change facilities and a plant room, in addition to a new toddler pool with zero depth water play area.
There will also be improved access, including for people with disabilities, to the 50-metre pool as well as improvements to solar heating.
Meanwhile, the creation of the civic plaza will be established as a usable open space leading to the pool.
A breakout green space from the already well-used Town Hall and main retail strip, the plaza is envisaged to be used for markets, public exhibitions and other community events.
In addition, a Disability Discrimination Act compliant pathway will be carved out to the adjacent Senior Citizens Centre.
The council said it had undertaken significant community consultation about the project, particularly during 2018.
However, despite years of campaigning from the community, the council decided this was not the project to include a heated or indoor pool.
In addition to the project, council has submitted a further funding application to SRV, seeking $30,000 to complement a council contribution of $50,000, in order to develop a 10-year Aquatics Strategy for the entire shire.
This strategy would explore options for the types of facilities that would best suit residents' needs.
This would include the consideration of the condition of the current pools, their maintenance and future management models and usage trends, in addition to the feasibility of heated pools in Daylesford and Creswick.
By consulting with the community, the council would use the strategy to guide strategic direction and infrastructure projects.
The council's ongoing upgrade of The Rex, located on Vincent Street, into a new space to house council offices, the town's library, a community cinema, a social enterprise cafe and facilities, was originally planned to be the first stage of a series of upgrades to council facilities in Daylesford.
The second stage was to be the upgrade to the Daylesford pool, with plans also being developed to upgrade the Town Hall.
The three upgrades were separated into individual projects around July 2018, so they would each have distinct funding streams.
The Rex project has seen significant delays due to a budget blow out and other issues, while governance issues are currently under investigation by the Local Government Inspectorate.
This investigation has been somewhat delayed, due to its complexity and issues to do with COVID-19.
Architects are currently working with user groups and the project team to revisit the design of The Rex project.
This work is continuing through COVID-19, with contractors currently being re-engaged to recommence works at the site during the second half of this year.
A new completion date has been set for April 2021.
LOFT architecture has been employed to work on designs, with construction on the Daylesford Aquatic and Civic Plaza Precinct project expected to begin as early as September 2020.
The pool will remain open during this time.
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