ARARAT - Supporters of the redevelopment of the Ararat Outdoor Olympic Swimming Pool are urged to attend a meeting tonight at which fundraising ideas and opportunities will be discussed.
Ararat Rural City Council at its September meeting voted to close and demolish the pool due to cost factors including ongoing costs and a potential rise in rates for ratepayers.
This prompted around 1500 people to attend a Save our Pool rally held in late September, which saw Council, at its October meeting, agree to rescind its previous motion to close and demolish the pool but order that it remain closed pending further consultation and a report on future options to be presented back to Council.
More than 200 attended Council's October meeting in support of the pool
This outpouring of community support has buoyed the Save our Pool committee's hopes that the pool will be reopened in some form for the coming summer season.
"Due to the upsurge in community support following the two public rallies for reopening the pool, we will hold a meeting tonight at 7.30pm at the SES headquarters to try to organise how people can assist in fundraising," Save our Pool campaigner Ambrose Cashin said.
"If they'd like to show up, we will see what they would like to organise to raise funds and how we can help them and have a real crack at getting the pool reopened."
Mr Cashin said that since the October council meeting people had been coming forward asking how they could assist in raising funds for the pool.
"The community support is definitely growing," he said.
"I have had letters dropped into my letter box and people are stopping not only me, but committee members, in the street and because of this we are encouraged to work at getting it open."
The committee is suggesting that in order for the pool to be opened as quickly as possible, that the redevelopment works be carried out in stages.
"If we can at least get it open and then we can work to achieving an ongoing and viable aquatic facility for Ararat," he said.
Mr Cashin believes that if it could be reopened for the 2013/2014 swimming season, then as soon as the swimming season is finished earthworks could be carried out for the child activity area and the shell for the changerooms.
"This could mean that the child activity centre could be open for the 2014/2015 season and maybe even the shell of the changerooms (finished) and as funds become available this could be achieved," he said.
Mr Cashin believes that if Council agrees to get behind the project then a variety of funds and grants could be applied for.
Community groups, organisations and individuals who would like to arrange fund raising activities for the pool are invited to attend tonight's meeting as well as tradespeople who have in the past offered to provide in-kind work.
"Tradies who have also offered to assist with the redevelopment of the pool are welcome to attend the meeting, so we can reaffirm to council what help has been offered," he said.
"If all this is in place, and if at the next council meeting on November 19 we are given the go ahead, we can get rolling and get it open by Christmas."