The sixth recommendation that formed part of the motion calls for Council to consider an aquatic facility on Phillip Island in the longer term, with 15-20 years suggested as the timeframe.
This effectively means that the ground work done so far, in researching world’s best practice in pool design and energy efficiency, feasibility studies and establishing relationships, will largely be wasted. The time commitment by Colin Grey and other past and present committee members has been enormous.
PIAC President, Don Turner said, “It’s like a life sentence. Families that have been travelling from Phillip Island to Wonthaggi all these years will have to wait nearly another generation before we get our own pool.”
“The Phillip Island community deserves better than to be regarded as second class. Surrounding local government areas have been able to support multiple aquatic facilities, to the benefit of their communities. The health and lifestyle benefits of having a local facility are enormous. However, it seems that it is seen as a liability rather than a community asset.”
“Living on an island, it is vital that we all can swim confidently and competently, to be able to fully enjoy the water sports on our back doorstep. But apart from Cowes Primary School, the schools struggle to operate effective aquatic programs, due to access,” Don said.
To his credit, Cr. Phil Wright tried four times to convince Councillors that the estimated $3 million that will be required for temporary change rooms etc, to keep the Wonthaggi complex functional while the redevelopment takes place, could be saved if a Phillip Island complex was built first. Then the Wonthaggi complex could be closed for the early redevelopment.
The PIAC committee has attempted to re-invigorate the community, but has not had any good news to share with members, as possible funding sources have dried up over the past six or seven years.