Mornington Peninsula Shire is being accused of ignoring the business case for an alternative “more sensible” 25-metre pool at Rosebud.
Retired businessman Colin Watson says building a 50-metre pool will be a waste of shire money while Mornington Peninsula Ratepayers’ Association secretary Dr Alan Nelsen sees a larger pool as being “over the top”.
Shoreham Community Association says money being earmarked for the larger pool are jeopardising its entire 2018-19 budget submissions.
Mr Watson, a Portsea resident, said the business case supporting a 25-metre pool by consultants GHD Pty Ltd “could not be clearer that a 50-metre pool would be a substantial over-investment and a waste of precious capital resources and become a recurrent financial burden for many generations to come”.
Mr Watson backs Rosebud as the site for a new pool, but not one so big.
Dr Nelsen agrees, saying a 10-lane, 50-metre pool is over the top: “You do not need to be a rocket scientist to work out that Rosebud does not need a pool of that size.
“Over the past decade the council has spent about $10 million on consultants’ reports, shire overheads, and buying the now-dud Rosebud central shopping centre site for the pool, and still no progress.
“Only three months after asking the community to have its say the council [has] decided to hold another survey and repeat the same question: a 25-metre pool or a massive 10-lane, 50-metre pool? However, in this instance all that will be measured is how organised and successful the pro-50 metre pool lobby group is at getting people to respond, compared to those who simply don’t bother. It will not be a true or valid measure of the community’s opinion.”
Shoreham Community Association president Alan Fisher said his group’s 2018-19 submissions – and many other submissions from Red Hill Ward – were being pushed aside because the larger pool was “taking all available shire funds”.
“We wish to make a very strong protest of this blatant disregard of our part of the shire,” Mr Fisher stated in a letter to council.
“If modest funding requests … are being disregarded [for] a 50 metre indoor pool at Rosebud which will have no value to the majority of ratepayers in Shoreham and the wider Red Hill Ward, then … we provide a strong vote of disapproval of the pool project which we believe should be paired back to a 25-metre pool.”
Dr Nelson said a larger pool would be the same size as that built for the Commonwealth Games at Albert Park and Frankston Council’s Peninsula Aquatic Recreation Centre. “This is despite the council insisting for 15 years that a 25-metre pool is adequate, a number of independent consultants’ reports and the business case … saying that spending the extra $7.62 million for a 10 lane, 50-metre pool, is a waste of money.”
Mr Watson said the larger pool would need a catchment area of at least 100,000 residents to justify it while Rosebud’s target catchment was 57,000.