Council Resolves To Close Glenthompson Pool

The Glenthompson Swimming Pool will be closed and decommissioned following the decision at last nights’ April Council meeting.

Mayor, Councillor David Robertson, acknowledged that the decision to close the pool is a difficult one and is not taken lightly by Councillors or Council Officers.

“Council acknowledges this is a difficult decision for the Glenthompson community, which hasn’t been arrived at easily by Council. We recognise the advocacy work undertaken by some residents to keep the pool open,” Cr Robertson said.

Council owns and operates seven pools in the Southern Grampians Shire, by far the most of any council in the region and unfortunately many of the pools are nearing the end of life and require significant capital investment.

The current asset utilisation (based on people swimming within the pool) of Glenthompson is the lowest of Council’s six outdoor pools. Significant capital investment would be required to address critical structural issues, leakage problems, and outdated plumbing systems. This doesn’t include any updates to the existing changerooms or swimming pool surrounds.

Low usage rates, combined with these ongoing maintenance costs make the operation of the pool unsustainable.

Cr Robertson added, “Council has undertaken a review of all pools to ensure their ongoing viability and value for money. This review has looked at operating costs per visitor, cost of capital investment required at each pool, and distance to alternate pools.

“An important factor in Council’s consideration was the proximity of other pools within a 15-minute travel time in Southern Grampians Shire and a neighbouring Shire.

“While the cost per visit to Council of the Glenthompson Pool reduced in 23/24, at $65.25, it’s still the highest of all the shire’s outdoor pools, and significantly above the statewide average for equivalent sized rural Council pools of $17.50. Prior to this season, the cost to ratepayers had been as high as $109.95 per swim. This is almost ten times the average statewide cost and just isn’t sustainable,” Cr Robertson said.

“We held several community engagement sessions with the Glenthompson community and met with the Glenthompson and District Development Association in the lead up to this decision. Through these sessions, many ideas and alternative operating models were discussed, including the reintroduction of fees and handing ownership back to the Glenthompson community,” Cr Robertson said.

With the pool only being open three months of the year, and following discussion with the community, Council believes there are better investments it can make in Glenthompson to support social connectedness and health and wellbeing. Learn to swim programs are provided locally at the Dunkeld swimming pool.

A number of ideas were put forward by the community including purchase of the former Primary School site for community use; upgrade of the Lions Park including improved amenities such as toilets, undercover all-weather table and chairs, accessible splash/play equipment, exercise equipment; develop a community garden; create a caravan park, allowing people to stop and stay; guided walking track, around town; Mural on hall; interactive path for walking and bike riding around town; or riding/walking track between Glenthompson and Dunkeld.

“Council is looking forward to exploring these options with Glenthompson community,” Cr Robertson said.

Works will be undertaken regarding repurposing the pool site following this consultation with the community.

/Public Release. View in full here.