ARARAT - With Christmas just around the corner, the Save Our Pool committee has been handed the ultimate gift and one the community has been hoping Santa would deliver for more than two years.
Ararat Rural City Council has endorsed an interim committee which will now work towards achieving Committee of Management status over the pool.
Ambrose Cashin, Maddy Vernon, Sandy Laidlaw, Rhonda Holz, Kylie Walker and Carmel Beer, all former members of the Save Our Pool committee, have been endorsed as the interim committee.
Council also agreed to provide appropriate help to the interim committee in seeking Committee of Management status.
After a two year fight and unprecedented public support, the committee has been handed the pool project by Council, which was unwilling to fund the redevelopment itself, citing ongoing costs and a possible rate rise as reasons for not wanting to carry the burden of the redevelopment.
Council at its September meeting had agreed to close and demolish the pool, but this motion was rescinded at the October meeting after a public outcry and rally in Barkly Street.
In yet another twist, Council at its November meeting agreed to offer the Ararat community the opportunity to undertake formal management of the pool, by applying for incorporation and eventually Committee of Management status.
At a public meeting late last month the Save our Pool committee agreed to seek Committee of Management Status and was optimistic that by this time next year the Ararat community would have a secure outdoor swimming area.
Council has agreed to provide $80,000 in annual operating costs for a period of three years and a one off amount of $450,000 in capital costs, an amount which had already been budgeted for the pool by Council.
Cr Gwenda Allgood said Council's endorsement of the committee was a great Christmas present for the Olympic pool committee.
"I think they've done a fantastic job and they deserve incredible praise for what they've been through this year and what they've achieved," she said.
"To actually keep the whole community with them is testament to how popular they are and what a great thing everyone believes this pool is going to mean to this community.
"I praise them a lot for what they've been through this year. It hasn't been easy, but sometimes things work out for the best."