LAST time Russell Broadbent visited the Mirboo North Swimming Pool he was singing for his supper.
But there was no singing last Friday.
There were only gasps and cheers of joy after Mr Broadbent announced that the South Gippsland Shire Council would receive a further $600,000 towards the cost of the $5.4 million pool refurbishment project, on behalf of the community.
“The money,” said Mr Broadbent in answer to a question from the Sentinel-Times, “will be allocated in the May Budget and made available to the shire before the (May 11) Federal Election.”
The work can start as early as June or July this year, according to shire director Anthony Seabrook.
“Really exciting,” was how Vice President of the Mirboo North Pool, Mary Baker described the news.
Where previously she had been looking at a deficit of $120,000 to make up the community’s share of the cost, and a dramatically scaled back project to achieve the shire’s budget of under $5 million; all things will now be possible.
“The main thing is that we get to keep the Program Room which will be a facility that will get year-round use. It will be open from outside and be available for community use.
“Better changerooms and some other additional items cut from the works can all now go ahead. It’s happy, happy days for Mirboo North.
Mayor Cr Don Hill, himself a resident of Mirboo North, warmly welcomed the additional funding.
“This pool project has been in waiting for a long time. The community has worked so hard for it. It’s the centrepiece for this community.”
A feature of Mr Broadbent’s announcement was making special mention of all the groups and individuals who had so far contributed to a true community project, especially seven-year-old Riley Parker who has lifted his personal tin-rattling campaign past the $2500 mark.
“The Mirboo North Swimming Pool is an institution, with many locals having learnt to swim at the pool and families from across the region travelling to the pool for a fun day out,” Mr Broadbent said.
“Mary Baker, Tonya Wright and the Mirboo North Community have been outstanding in their support and determination to get this new pool funded and I am really pleased to be able to
deliver this additional money.
“Local fund raiser Riley Parker has been a champion of the pool, having single-handedly raising more than $2500 and his parents and community are are rightly proud of him,” Mr Broadbent said.
Funding for the pool will come through the Community Development Grants Program with the additional funding helping the Shire and pool committee get further towards their redevelopment.
“Currently the project couldn’t proceed in its entire form, with the scope needing to be scaled down in order to fit within the reduced budget, so this funding will help the shire get closer to the realisation of a new pool for Mirboo North.”
Anthony Seabrook said tenders would likely be finalised this week with the final decision to go to council in April or May.
School kids and a big contingent of locals were on hand to hear Mr Broadbent make his $600,000 funding announcement.