In what promises to be the hottest week this summer, Tungamah residents have been locked out of their pool.FIONA BLICK January 14, 2014 2:38pm
Insurance and safety issues have been cited as reasons but according to original pool committee member Danny Bourke, “it would be a shame if Tungamah permanently lost the use of the pool”.
“We have lost so much in Tungamah already including our bank, our maternity health centre, the post office is only an agency, we don’t have a petrol station and we are fighting to keep the school and the kindergarten open, it would be devastating for the community to lose the pool,” Mr Bourke said.
“It really should be open for the children, it is a shame to see this facility going to waste.”
Confusion now exists as to who is actually responsible for the pool - between Moira Shire Council, which took over Tungamah Shire’s 50 year lease of the land when the shires amalgamated in the early ‘90s, and the Department of Education which technically owns the land but ‘gifted’ it to the former Tungamah Shire in order for the pool to be built.
John Tyrrell, volunteer groundsman, said he had worked for approximately eight weeks prior to the season to get the pool and the surrounding gardens up to scratch.
“I would pop in up to four times a day over the eight weeks to make sure the pool was clean and the pumps were in good working order,” Mr Tyrrell said.
“I was then given a directive by the school principal on December 20 to shut the pool pumps off.
“Her exact words to me were she ‘will be sacked on the spot’ if she allowed anyone in the pool area.”
A strong band of community volunteers make up the both the school and pool committees and according to Mr Tyrrell, they work tirelessly and without pay year in year out to maintain and develop the school and pool facilities.
“There was a working bee on December 15, just prior to the pool’s scheduled opening where volunteers helped put the finishing touches to the pool’s grounds,” he said.
“We have tried to meet with authorities and get some answers but to no avail.
“Now the pool is green, the lawns haven’t been mowed and there are weeds all through the gardens, purely because of red tape; no one seems to want to take responsibility.”
Member for Murray Valley Tim McCurdy told the Yarrawonga Chronicle he was in the process of organising meetings with himself, the Regional Director for the Department of Education Peter Greenwell and Tungamah Primary School Principal Christine Purcell.
“We need to get to the bottom of this issue and fix it,” Mr McCurdy said.
“I understand the Tungamah community is up in arms however, if a safety issue is involved then we must make sure things are done correctly.
“A safety audit will be conducted on the pool and I will be meeting with the school council on Friday to discuss this issue further.”
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