Pool progress

ARARAT - The Ararat Olympic Swimming Pool continues to move closer to re-opening with the pool committee becoming an incorporated body.

The incorporation status sees the committee now hold all legal entities to the pool site and is another step completed by Ambrose Cashin and his community group following Ararat Rural City Council's decision to hand over to them formal management duties last November.

While news on the pool's progress in recent months may have been quiet, Mr Cashin said that behind the scenes the committee members have been working 'fairly vigorously'.

"Carmel Beer and Rhonda Holz have been really busy in getting us to the incorporated stage," he said.

"Carmel, Rhonda and the council are now working with the Department of Environment and Primary Industries for the handover of the day-to-day running of the pool to the committee of management.

"We are moving forward slowly, but that was expected with Christmas and holidays, it is not a worry yet because we are getting our house in order so we can hopefully have a seamless work schedule once everything gets cracking."

This week Mr Cashin and Sandy Laidlaw visited the Ararat Olympic Swimming Pool site with Peter Farley from Farley Pools and consultant Mike Pettigrew to assess the work that needs to be completed.

The pool committee has set itself the goal of having the facility up and running by December 1, 2014.

"Our aim is to have the pool open for next season and we would ideally like to have the pool going, a child activity area plus the new change rooms," Mr Cashin said.

"Depending on the report back and the costings we get from Farley Pools, will give us a good indication of where we are at and what we need to do.

"(Mr Farley and Mr Pettigrew) came through to look at the pool to get a re-costing of what needs to be done and to prioritise a works order.

"So once the report comes back we will look at the amount of money we have got and what we need to do to work towards getting the pool open for next season."

Mr Cashin said with the Victorian State Election to be held at the end of the year the pool committee will be speaking with both parties in the hope extra funding can be secured towards developing the multipurpose change rooms.

"I think the government funding will be a necessity just to get it all finished off," he said.

"We are in the process of getting new quotes for the change rooms and it has come in substantially better than the original one. I suppose it all hinges back to what is required and we won't know that in detail until we get the report back from Peter Farley in a week or two.

"People are still donating to the fund which is great to see. The latest to come on board is RES, who are involved in the new wind farm and they have pledged $5000 towards the community project, so we are really happy and thankful for that.

"It just shows that continually the support is there."

Mr Cashin said the committee is looking to again run a fundraising ball later in the year, while a sausage sizzle will be held at Safeway during Easter after it proved extremely successful in 2013.

Mr Cashin said this week also came with some sadness for the committee, with the passing of former Ararat councillor Noel Hooper who had been an avid supporter of the Save Our Pool campaign in recent years.

"Noel has been, as everybody knows, highly involved in getting the pool originally open and in the last two years he has given us some invaluable advice," he said.

"Even with these consultants now, the original photos that Noel had given us are proving very helpful with the refurbishment of the pool.

"The pool committee would like to send their sympathies to the Hooper family and we acknowledge the work he has done and his contribution can't be forgotten."

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