MORE than $60m could be spent on building two aquatic centres in the Bass Coast Shire, if the council can pull off a mammoth advocacy project.
The council is advocating both major political parties for the cash to build an aquatics centre on Phillip Island and redevelop the Bass Coast Aquatic Centre in Wonthaggi.
And they’re ramping up their campaign for the money just a few months out from the Federal Election.
Bass Coast Mayor, Cr Brett Tessari, has labelled both projects as “key priorities” for the shire.
“Phillip Island has been longing for a community swimming pool for years, and the Bass Coast facility needs to be redeveloped into a modern facility of today’s standards,” Cr Tessari said.
“We are committed to delivering both of these important community facilities.
“Both are identified in our Long Term Financial Plan and supported by our two pool strategy for Bass Coast.
“Council now needs supporting funding from State and Federal Government to achieve this goal.”
He said council and the community believe the upcoming Federal Election provides an important opportunity for a funding commitment.
Council has had attended several meetings with federal candidates for Monash in the lead up to the election.
It has also written to the relevant ministers and shadow ministers, informing them of the top eight federal advocacy priorities, which includes the two pool projects.
Peter McMahon, spokesperson for the Philip Island Aquatic Centre Fund (PIACF), has also met with the candidates for the seat of Monash.
According to the council, he’s happy to continue working with the shire to secure funding for a pool to be built on Phillip Island.
“We know that aquatics play an important role in communities – contributing to health and wellbeing as well as social and recreation activities, and unlocking the potential of elite athletes,” Mr McMahon said.
“We have been fundraising and working hard towards a pool for Phillip Island for over 20 years; it would be great to see the hard work and dedication of our community credited with an investment from the Federal Government.
“After all, we have an active Swimming Club (PISC) on the island of some 95-plus swimmers, plus 20 swimming in the South Gippsland Bass Swim Club, but we don’t have a pool for them to train in.”
President of South Gippsland Bass Swim Club (SGBSC), Lorraine Muir, is supportive of council’s advocacy to upgrade the Bass Coast aquatics facility.
“We’ve seen what can be achieved when council and the community work together to advocate to higher levels of government to get important community infrastructure off the ground,” Lorraine said.
“We are proud to be recognised as one of the top swimming clubs in the country and are incredibly lucky to have a fantastic committee and coaches – imagine what we could achieve with an upgraded facility to match.”
Council, in partnership with PIACF and SGBSC, will continue to advocate and encourage Federal and State Governments to invest in these two important aquatic facilities for Bass Coast.
For more information on council’s other advocacy priorities, visit www.basscoast.vic.gov.au/about-council/advocacy