ARARAT - Ambrose Cashin believes the Ararat Solar Olympic Swimming Pool could be brought up to a suitable standard for swimming within a month.
The enthusiasm of Mr Cashin and the Save Our Pool committee has been renewed following last Tuesday night's decision by the Ararat Rural City Council to rescind its motion to close the pool permanently and have the site demolished.
Mr Cashin said he was thrilled with the passion shown by the Ararat community, which turned up in force at the Ararat Performing Arts Centre to voice support for the refurbishment of the pool.
"During the meeting it was clear that the community want the pool and that's what I believe really came across," he said.
"Now the pool committee, councillors and council officers need to work together to see how we can achieve it.
"We know we've got a pool shell that is workable and we could probably get the pool up and running within a month I think, depending on what is required.
"The two questions we need to now answer is - What do we need to do to get the pool up and running? And how do we move forward to achieve our dream?
"That is the community's dream as well, it is not just the pool committee and it was quite obvious from the two rallies that we've had and Tuesday's meeting that the community want this to proceed."
Prior to last week's meeting, council had received two petitions from residents of the municipality, one in support of council's decision not to proceed with the refurbishment and one opposing the motion.
A total of 113 signatures supporting council's decision was received, while 129 supporting the retention of pool were submitted.
Mr Cashin said he understood the concern of residents, particularly in the rural areas of the region, about the suggested rate rise should the project go ahead, but is confident the refurbishment won’t have a profound impact financially on the community.
“I am taking in what people from the rural areas are concerned about, especially with their rates,” he said.
“We’ve looked at that and instead of getting it all in one go, we are willing to progress in stages. I still think that is very achievable.
“Get the pump room up and running, do it with quality equipment so as things progress it can be
used down the track. As we’ve got the time, probably next year, with the money that we’ve raised get the child activity area going and then move on to the multi-purpose change rooms and entrance.”
Mr Cashin said one cost saving possibility could be to recycle the heating for the showers from the Fiscalini Pavilion at Alexandra Oval, which is soon to be demolished.
He believes that would open the door to the pool being in use this summer.
“I would love that to happen, but I suppose that depends on the next month whether councillors and council officers get together with us so we can work out exactly what’s needed and what’s the cost,” Mr Cashin said.
“If at the end of that process coming up to the next council meeting that can be signed off to proceed, well on the Wednesday you could be chasing up people.
“If it looks like a viable thing you could tee up contractors to be aware of it, so that they can step in the following Monday and that would probably be able to get the pool up and running prior to Christmas.
“I was pleased the council listened to the community on Tuesday night. I can see their hesitancy, but if we start looking at how we can get things done not how they can’t be done, then we can achieve a lot.”
Those wishing to donate to ‘Save the Pool’ fund can still do so at the Bendigo Bank in Barkly Street.
All residents who give money to go into the Ararat Community Enterprise account will have their details recorded and should the project not move ahead will receive a full refund.
“As some people said at the meeting a lot of towns and cities would be envious of the community support and involvement that we’ve got here in Ararat, so let’s harness it and achieve something,” Mr Cashin said.
“If you look at any project that governments get going they always say we need community support and ownership - well we clearly have it here.
“Where there’s life, there’s hope.”