Council crashes pool party

“I‘ve got no faith [council] can deliver an opening at the time they are now saying,” Chris O’Neil said (Unsplash).

Zoe Moffatt

A $1,147,594 repair and improvement bill has floated to the top of Sunbury’s 25-metre indoor pool.

It’s been a year laden with setbacks for Sunbury’s public indoor pool, after a leak was discovered on May 12.

Council commenced repairs on May 22, and initally said it expected the pool to be closed for two weeks.

Learn to swim classes were relocated to the warm water pool when possible, and the repairs were estimated to cost $45,000.

On May 31, Sunbury Aquatic and Leisure Centre (SALC) announced the pool would be closed for up to 12 weeks, with the spa and steam room also slated to be closed until late August or early September.

Almost two months later on July 25, SALC made another announcement and said it anticipated the project would be completed from early to mid-October.

At a meeting on October 23, Hume council said it now expects the pool to reopen the week commencing November 20, about six months after repairs commenced.

The cost of the repairs and associated works have also blown out to a projected $525,550. Council said it continues to work with its insurance to recoup some of the costs.

Council said it has taken this opportunity to complete additional and scheduled improvements, including concourse flooring (textured non-slip flooring), new tiles and grating, new lane ropes, filtration upgrades and safety improvement works.

The additional works are projected to cost $622,044, bringing the total cost to $1,147,594.

Sunbury resident Chris O’Neil has his kids enrolled in swimming lessons at SALC and questioned the council about the repair works.

“We’re frustrated because of the lack of communication, [and] the seemingly open time frame. Initially it was supposed to be closed for two weeks,” Mr O’Neil said.

“Council should be providing more regular updates… they are very few and far between, they all provide a rough end date, but it just looks like they’ve guessed.

“The cost blow out surprised me… [and] the time blowout has frustrated a lot of people in the community as well.”

While Mr O’Neil said these aspects are frustrating, the most concerning takeaway is the number of kids who have missed out on swimming lessons.

“How many kids have been pulled out of swimming lessons and what’s the risk to the community because of this,” he said.

“I‘ve got no faith [council] can deliver an opening at the time they are now saying.”