The Final Report Shire Aquatics Strategy will be considered by Council at its meeting on April 20.

The Final Report includes community feedback on the Draft Aquatics Strategy which was endorsed for public exhibition at the Council meeting in February. An online survey, community pop-ups and written submissions were considered in finalising the report.

The community feedback resulted in some wording changes in the vision statement, objectives and strategic directions but little substantial change from the Draft document. The revised vision statement recognises the need for a year-round aquatics facility. The strategic directions have been rearranged to acknowledge the community desire that development of an indoor aquatics facility is a top priority.

Community feedback indicated strong support for an indoor aquatics facility in the Shire and for feasibility planning and a business case to be developed.

The Report includes recommendations for $6 million to $8 million in further consultancies and capital works on existing pools. Community feedback was strongly of the view that only critical capital works to meet current facility and OH&S standards should be undertaken until feasibility studies for an indoor facility have been completed.

At the meeting on Wednesday, April 20, Council will consider a recommendation to adopt the Strategy and that Council officers commence with preparation of an implementation plan to inform Council’s long term financial plan over the next 10 years.

Council will also consider specific recommendations to allocate $160,000 to develop a feasibility study and business plan for an indoor aquatics facility and a further $103,000 for necessary compliance and OH&S upgrades.

A spokesperson for the Daylesford Indoor Aquatics Association (DIAC), Tim Bach, was pleased¬† that the Strategy recognised the need for an indoor aquatics facility. “Progress on this issues has been slow but it’s gratifying to see council taking this issue forward,” said Mr Bach. “Like so many other regional towns in Australia, we built the existing Daylesford pool in the afterglow of the Melbourne Olympics. I hope the award of the 2026 Commonwealth Games spurs us on to see the project to completion in time for the Opening Ceremony.”

A summary of the report, the community feedback and the Final Report of the Hepburn Shire Council Aquatics Strategy is available with the Council agenda at www.hepburn.vic.gov.au/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/Public-Agenda-Ordinary-Meeting-of-Council-20-April-2022.pdf