Korumburra’s Lucy Evangelista presents South Gippsland Shire Councillor Lorraine Brunt with a petition containing almost 2000 signatures, asking council to revise the pools’ operations and opening guidelines.
SOUTH Gippsland families sent a clear message to the South Gippsland Shire Council last week – changes to the operation of outdoor pools must be made.
A petition, containing 1900 signatures was presented to during last Wednesday’s public presentation session, calling for several changes to current contracts between council and the YMCA regarding the opening hours and operations of the pools.
The petition follows months of campaigning from the community led by a group of Korumburra parents.
‘Save our Pools Korumburra, Poowong, Foster and Mirboo North’ committee members Danielle Fowles, Cate Minchin and Lucy Evangelista said they hoped the 1900 signatures would help “communicate their hope that operations of the pools would return to those of the 2013-14 season”.
Ms Evangelista said they had created the ‘Save our Pools’ group following changes introduced this season.
“We want to ask that council revise the pool’s operation and opening guidelines at minimum to reflect those of the 2013/14 summer season,” she said.
“This is motivated by changes to the parameters for the pools operations in the 2014/15 summer season.
“There is a collective sense that such changes do not reflect the high value the community places in their local pools and that the changes jeopardise the future viability of our pools’ operations given council’s attendance indicators for funding and maintenance.”
Ms Evangelista also said there was wide-spread objection from across the community to the minimum opening temperature of 26 degrees.
The committee urged council to consider “community over capital”, and to keep the pools accessible to townships instead of threatening them into the “line of fire to be triggered off council’s capital works list.”
The petition was tabled to Cr Lorraine Brunt, who will present the document on the committee’s behalf at tomorrow’s (Wednesday) council meeting.
In accepting the petition, Cr Brunt said council’s decision to change the operations of the pools, was to ensure all outdoor pools were under the same contracts and management.
“Previously the contracts were all over the place,” she said.
“There are always problems and things need to be ironed out.”
Cr Brunt suggested communities should look to the Poowong community and the way which they are involved with the running of their outdoor pool.
“I think the way forward is to form a ‘Friends of the Pool committee’, to help back the YMCA up,” she said.
“The friends of the Poowong pool and the YMCA work well together, so it can work.”
Cr Brunt also acknowledged that the temperature guidelines for opening the pools had not been effective this season.
“It hasn’t worked. The humidity has been a problem,” she said.
When questioned by Ms Minchin if dropping the minimum temperature from 26 degrees was an option, Cr Brunt said any changes to contracts would come at a cost.
“Anything we change in a tended contract is going to cost us money,” she said.
Fellow Strzelecki Ward Councillor Jim Fawcett said council was well aware of the community’s issues and said while this season was “gone”, the focus needs to be on next season.
“There are provisions to vary the contracts if we so choose. We intend to engage with the community about this,” he said.