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Monday, 21 March 2011
Page: 2648


Mr SYMON (9:05 PM) —I rise in this grievance debate to talk about the Ringwood Aquatic Centre, which I spoke about in this House back on 28 February this year. My grievance at the time was with Maroondah City Council and their decision to close the pool from 31 May. It gives me great pleasure to be able to relate to the House that this decision has now been changed. The closure date will now be the end of October. This is very important for all the local user groups, the many thousands of people who use the pool every week. It has been greeted locally with a great deal of relief. The pending closure of the pool was part of a wider plan to build a brand-new pool in 2010, a plan that did not go ahead. Unfortunately, the closure date of the pool was not then pushed out.

What we have in Ringwood now is an indoor pool that is in a usable state today that was due for closure on 31 May even though it was still quite usable. As I said, that date has now been pushed out, and that is a good thing for not only the user groups but all the residents of Maroondah and surrounding municipalities because it is such a well-used pool. There are not many indoor 50-metre pools in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne anymore. It is used right throughout the year. Because of the change of heart by the council, they are now going to take it to a meeting on 28 March. The public consultation, which was the part that was missing prior to this, is going to happen in May. I believe that we will be able to have a very good outcome for the citizens of Maroondah, which is part of my electorate of Deakin.

As I have said before in this place, local facilities such as that are vital to keeping a community together. It might be something as simple as parents taking their kids for swimming lessons on a Saturday morning or it might be older children or adults in training for diving or for the state swimming championships who can do it locally. If they cannot do it at a local pool, the next closest indoor 50-metre pool is not in the City of Maroondah. It is across into the City of Whitehorse or it is out in the City of Knox. Each of them is a distance of many kilometres away and usually those facilities are fully booked. You cannot just turn up and say, ‘I would like a lane to practise swimming in.’ That is not so easy. I congratulate Maroondah City Council on their change of mind about keeping the pool running for longer than it was originally scheduled to. I am sure that will give user groups, members of the public and the council itself more time to think about how best to use this wonderful facility that we have in Ringwood.