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The truth regarding the long running sage of the Golden Square Swimming Pool is finally to be revealed at the July 15 2020 Council Meeting and council does not come out smelling of roses.

Bendigo Alliance today seeks to expose the truth regarding the Golden Square Swimming Pool saga and the whole sorry story for users of the Golden Square Reserve, whether it also be the Bowls Club, Croquet Club, Football, Cricket or Netball user groups.

Spokesperson for Bendigo Alliance Max Turner said today: “It’s just unbelievable how council can once again stuff up so badly and it all boils down to a lack of real community consultation and some councillors failing to truly represent the community’s aspirations in a rational and meaningful way.”

The Council Agenda spills the beans.

At the March 2020 meeting of council, the recommendation in the agenda was to continue operation of the Golden Square Swimming Pool for a further four years subject including council taking on responsibility for asset maintenance and $35,000 funding from council while the local community committee would management the pool.

Instead, Councillors Emond and Fyffe engineered a motion behind closed doors to defer the matter until June for stakeholder engagement.

“Then to add insult to injury they didn’t listen to the community feedback with over 60 per cent of respondents voting for Option 1 to retain the Pool, deferring a decision yet again,” Max said.

“Now council wants to close the Golden Square Pool in three, yes three years’ time meaning they’ve gone from being offered a four-year lease to shutting down in three years. Does that mean all user groups go into a hiatus period for the next three years?

“What a joke, here we have council releasing a Draft Aquatic Strategy for public comment and at the same time making a decision to close the Golden Square Pool in three years’ time.

“The draft aquatic strategy shows the Golden Square Pool is the lowest subsidised pool costing $2.69 per visit of any of the municipality pools and access to aquatic facilities is an important factor in Greater Bendigo’s liveability. Isn’t the vision of this Council to be the world’s most liveable community?

“I understand consultation was undertaken, but no one seems to know the results and Bendigo Alliance calls on the council to immediately release the results in full. Tell us all what was the preferred option of the clubs and community? All are entitled to know or is this going to be another GovHub and refusal to truly consult in an open transparent and meaningful way.

This whole saga has been bungled from the start.

We have a Bowls Club who own the land they occupy and the remaining clubs are on crown land managed by Council. Even worse we have council who have openly stated they wish to buy Backhaus Oval. Both the owners of Bacchus Oval and the Bowl’s and Crocket Club now hold the aces, if you want to buy or if you wish to relocate us, it will be on our terms. Is that the way to do business?”

The Bendigo Alliance feels for all the sporting groups who in good faith have been working with council to bring about a resolution for a difficult problem on a site that cannot cater for all the club’s genuine needs. To create the uncertainty that this decision will create is both unhealthy and stupid.

“The Golden Square Pool Committee and Community does not deserve what council is dishing up to it. How council can expect them to work through the next three years knowing that they will be closed is cruel and demeaning of the work and energy that a small group of people have worked their guts out for several years to improve and keep afloat this great community asset.

“What do the Ward Councillors Fyffe and Emond have to say about this whole sorry saga? They are holding a listening post this Saturday so the community have the opportunity to ask them directly. It will be interesting to listen to the debate come this July 15 Council Meeting,” Max Turner said.

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