The Mirror News

Solar heating boost for Foster’s swimming pool

THE Foster Swimming Pool will be better than ever this summer, thanks to recent improvements to the pool’s heating.

South Gippsland Shire Council has arranged for the installation of new solar mats and replaced the plant shed at the pool, refitting the plant and equipment and improving the plant set-up. The new mats are of better quality than the old ones and cover 20 per cent more surface area, resulting in greatly improved efficiency in heating the pool. The pool has also had an initial pump-out and will shortly have a full clean.

“It’s terrific,” said pool committee president Ian Lyon, delighted to see Council spending money on the much-loved pool after a period in which its future was very much up in the air, Council having grown increasingly concerned about the cost of maintaining the pool at Foster as well as five others.

The turnaround came through the OurSay community engagement process, in which the pools at Foster and Mirboo North gathered the most votes for Budget expenditure, and through petitions and presentations, letters and surveys, which left Council in no doubt as to the high value ratepayers place on their pools.

Heeding the message, at the July meeting Council adopted a revised Aquatic Strategy recommending that Council continue to support six pools in the shire –outdoor pools at Foster, Mirboo North, Korumburra and Poowong, a heated pool at Toora and the indoor heated SPLASH complex at Leongatha.

The Revised Strategy also sees community advisory committees replace the Section 86 special committees, with the intention of strengthening the partnership between Council, local communities and pool operators. Foster plans to incorporate its committee so it can take responsibility for pool finances.

The Revised Strategy acknowledges the work of the Foster community in developing a ‘Vision for Foster Pool.’ This Vision, written by the Foster Pool Working Group and presented to Council last November, asked that community ownership and management be considered if the alternative was to close the pool.

Council has decided to maintain the YMCA management contract for the 2015/16 and 2016/17 seasons but will consider a community management and ownership model for the pool for possible implementation after that.

Ian Lyon said the pool committee is now hoping to get a grant to extend the solar matting for the pool so that the water can remain at a comfortably warm temperature. The committee will be looking at community sponsorship options for the pool. Already one fundraiser is planned – a raffle. Prizes will include a Christmas cake and a season’s ticket to the pool.

Season’s tickets will shortly be available for purchase from Atoll Travel, local schools, the YMCA and at the street party to be held in Foster on Wednesday December 23. Early purchasers of season’s tickets will go into a draw, with the winner to have the charge for their ticket reimbursed.

Foster Pool will open with a Christmas party on December 19. That will be the first in a series of events planned for the pool over the summer. These include a Music Day on January 23, Valentine’s Day Extravaganza on February 14 and a closing party on March 12.

Parents are advised that the YMCA is only too happy to host children’s parties at the swimming pool. A couple of hours’ entertainment and food for a gang of kids can be booked through the YMCA for an all-inclusive price. And you won’t have to clean up!


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