ARARAT - After almost two years campaigning, the future of the Ararat Solar Olympic Swimming Pool is set to be decided in the coming months.
Tenders for the refurbishment of the outdoor pool closed in early August and Ararat Rural City Council officers are in the process of evaluating the applicants and preparing a report for councillors.
The pool was shut for the 2011/12 summer season after a recommendation that it required extensive works to bring it up to an acceptable standard.
The closure of the pool caused outrage in the community and a public meeting organised by Ambrose Cashin and Maddy Vernon in early 2012 saw more than 1000 people turn out to voice their concerns, while more than 2000 community members signed a petition in support of re-opening the pool.
Mr Cashin said the Ararat Olympic Pool Committee is continuing to fundraise in the hope that the project is given the green light.
"It would be great if we could make a decision in September, but realistically it should be done and dusted by the end of the council meeting in October," he said.
"It is really coming to a head and the fact that the committee has got up and is organising another ball on November 9, it is being driven by the community and it is time the council listened.
"We have a little bit more than $50,000 in pledges and money in the bank, but people are also waiting for council to give the go ahead so then they can donate.
"Any money that goes into the Bendigo Bank account is kept on record so that if it doesn't go ahead that money can go back."
Plans for the refurbishment of the Ararat Solar Olympic Swimming Pool were put together by Etch Architects after an in depth consultation period.
Mr Cashin said the addition of two adult change rooms which cater for people with higher needs, will be one of the main features of the upgrade, which benefit not only pool users.
"Not only during the pool season, but when the gardens are being utilised these change rooms for people with disabilities will be available to them should they be required," he said.
"This is an asset to the community. At the end of the day the architect was able to show us how to make the pool viable for not only the next couple of years but for the next 20 to 40 years.
"We have to bring in these changes and look to the future.
"To be honest I am pretty impressed with the design and really happy with the architect Shaun Stone from Etch Architects, but also the council officers who have worked with us. We formed a good team to come up with what is the best for the community."
Mr Cashin said over the whole process he has been thrilled with the way the entire community has got behind the campaign.
"Ararat West Primary School are just one of the many who have run a number of functions and that's off the kids own initiative," he said.
"They have raised more than $1000 and the fact that it has been driven by primary school kids is fantastic - The young children want it and they are the future.
"Council keep mentioning the rates. If you need people to get the rates down they are not going to come here unless there are amenities like this pool."