Despite Colbinabbin pool treasurer Jenny Rathjen volunteering to open the pool free of charge, it and others across Campaspe Shire will close for the season on March 11.By Trent Horneman
Campaspe Shire has shut its outdoor pools, despite temperatures in the high 30s this week.
The move, to close all outdoor pools on March 11, was a council directive made when council took over control of the pools from YMCA in November.
Kyabram-Deakin Ward councillor Robert Danieli said while he would like to see the pools remain open while temperatures were high, it was too hard and too expensive to change at the last minute.
Colbinabbin Swimming Pool Committee treasurer and trained lifeguard Jenny Rathjen had offered to open the pool free of charge for the week, a request which council had denied.
Mrs Rathjen said when YMCA was in control of outdoor pools, closing dates were altered to suit the weather conditions.
‘‘They used to keep it open week-by-week until the temperatures had dropped,’’ she said.
‘‘Council set this date. When I knew it was going to be closed I offered to donate my time free of charge.’’
Mrs Rathjen said her committee had worked hard to improve the town’s pool and previously members volunteered to man the pool outside of normal opening hours.
‘‘If a sporting club, school, or any group wanted to use the pool after hours, then we would organise a trained volunteer to be there. When council took over we were not allowed to do this and council would charge $90 an hour for one of its lifeguards to be there,’’ she said.
‘‘It is disappointing that when it is a hot day, the pool is sitting there locked up. I would rather children in town swim in the pool, supervised, than in a farm channel.
‘‘When Campaspe Shire took over we were told that nothing would change. That has not happened.
‘‘We will be taking the matter up with council, because we all pay rates and this is one of the few services we have in town.’’
Cr Danieli said he believed the cost of keeping pools open with late notice was the main reason for the pools’ closure.
He said Mrs Rathjen’s request was ‘‘admirable’’.
‘‘Realistically a spur of the moment decision cannot be made. This is something that needs to be taken up with council during winter to be considered for the future,’’ he said.
‘‘I have toured pools throughout the region and there are a few issues that need ongoing review to make sure that we are 100 per cent on top of,’’ he said.
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