THE region's swimming pools and fitness centres will receive extensive upgrades after the Ararat Rural City Council takes over the management of these sites.
Ararat Rural City Council will upgrade the Ararat Fitness Centre and the Willaura and Lake Bolac swimming pools with ongoing savings it makes through bringing the services' management in-house.
Chief executive Tim Harrison said the council anticipated the savings to reach about $1.1 million during the first five-year period, beginning with the 2019-20 financial year.
He said the upgrades to "important recreational infrastructure" in Ararat, Lake Bolac and Willaura would happen across the next 18 months.
"This will be achieved through a loan of up to $2.5 million, which would be serviced through the ongoing savings to council from ending the contract of current managers Unified Community Sports and Leisure and bringing service delivery in-house," he said.
UCSL has held the contract managing the four facilities since October 2015.
"Some of the funds will also be used to upgrade and repair ageing infrastructure at the Willaura Outdoor Memorial Pool and the Peter O'Rorke Lake Bolac Memorial Pool," Dr Harrison said.
"UCSL manage both rural pools, plus the Ararat Fitness Centre and the Ararat Outdoor Olympic Pool."
The council will also actively seek grants from state and federal governments to further offset the cost of the projects.
Dr Harrison said the council last week resolved to end the UCSL contract 10 months early. The decision came after a report identified significant savings could be made by bringing management in-house.
He said the council had given UCSL two months' notice as of Monday morning, as required in the contract.
He confirmed all current staff would have secure employment for at least three months after the council took control of the services on October 28.
Dr Harrison said the council would work with key user groups and the broader community to redevelop the Ararat Fitness Centre facilities to improve accessibility and provide a more up-to-date environment.
Dr Harrison said draft plans for the fitness centre upgrade would be presented to stakeholders and centre users by the end of the year.
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