Wednesday, February 05, 2014

olinda pool, the community presents its case

report from the roundtable – 28 jan

At last week’s council meeting concerned community members came down to the Lilydale council chambers to express their concerns about the Olinda Pool.

Long time Olinda local, John Faull, gave councillors a history of the pool and how it came to be constructed post the 1962 bushfires. He also raised concerns about the current photos used to depict faults in the pool. He highlighted that community members had not been charged to enter the pool last swim season and the request to purchase season tickets had been rejected. Mr Faull also reported that the Friends of Olinda Pool had also been proactive in gaining a quote for pool repairs.

I was concerned about a number of elements of Mr Faull’s presentation. Firstly I am very frustrated by the amount of time it is taking to get a Structural Engineers report, last week’s council meeting marked 11 weeks since the fault was discovered, and to my mind that’s way too long to have to wait for such a critical report.

I also raised concerns with officers about the claims that people had not been charged entry to the pool and asked that the matter be further investigated.  Not charging for entry has a range of implications including user data being distorted by not reflecting how many people actually use the pool.

I’m frustrated that we seem to be being held to ransom by waiting for the Structural Engineers report which is taking an inordinate amount of time to prepare. Although I can advise that a Structural Engineers report will soon be available and posted online on the Shire’s website for community members to access.

There are limited community facilities on the ridge top of the Dandenongs and the community is passionate to keep what they have.  

I was pleased to be able to support a motion "That Council officers immediately investigate alternative methods of repairing the Olinda Pool to expedite its reopening."
It came about from investigations via Cr Cliff into alternate ways to repair the pool, such as a pool liner.

The motion only just got through and to be sure there was a record of the vote I called a division:

Councillors for: Crs Cox, Cliff, Dunn, Witlox and McAllister
Councillors against: Crs Child, Avery, Callanan and McCarthy

At least we can now concurrently run the process of the structural engineers report and how we can best facilitate the quickest reopening of the pool. 

I’m keen to see that our communications with community improve and they are kept fully informed about what’s happening with the pool.

For council updates on the Olinda pool visit this link, to find out more about the community campaign join the facebook page SaveTheOlindaPool.

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