I have resisted the conspiracy theories of others who have seen the demise of the Rex as an excuse to transfer the resources to the Aquatic Centre proposal. But Allan Smith’s letter seems to confirm that agenda.
Tim Bach suggested in his letter that if the capital cost of an aquatics facility in the Shire was $20 million, $15 million could come from government grants. I have just one question. Why would governments provide money for a pool when the Victorian State Government contributed $13 mil. in 2007 through Major Projects for the restoration of the Hepburn Bathhouse and pool? Following the upgrade, management of the Bathhouse reverted to the Council which now receives considerable rental income.
Tim Bach also states that support for the aquatic strategy was based on evidence received through an extensive and prolonged community consultation. Did he have access to the data? That certainly hasn’t been possible through the consultation offered on the sale of the Rex. It was not even possible to keep a copy of your own submission let alone see what others said. So it would be interesting to know why he assumed that an extensive consultation was held- how many people, what demographics, how support was ascertained as that question was not on the form I completed. Another question could also be how the usage estimated in the DIAC interim business plan of 126,000 pool visits a year was determined. 300 open days in a year would be a reasonable assumption and that equals 420 visitors per day. What is the usage data from the Brunswick Baths or the Northcote Aquatic Centre? One of the State’s biggest attractions, Sovereign Hill had 373,000 visitors in 2019. We would need to cost in a rather large car park as well.