Save Regional Victorian Pools
An ongoing plan by the Campaspe Shire to close seven local pools has garnered criticism from independent candidate for Nicholls, Rob Priestly and our founder Laurie Lawrence for putting children’s lives in danger.
People can sign a petition to save the pools at https://www.change.org/p/keep-the-shire-of-campaspe-pools-open
Priestly is calling upon the state and federal government to assist with the cost of maintaining the seven pools in the Campaspe shire.
“Pools not only provide an important community meeting place, but it’s a community safety issue,” he said. “I don’t want to see children drowning because our governments don’t recognise how critical it is that kids learn how to swim. Every Australian kid deserves the opportunity to learn how to swim.”
Laurie welcomed the community support in putting children’s lives first.
“Closing the seven pools around the Campaspe Shire will put children in danger by reducing accessibility to learn-to-swim facilities,” said the founder of water safety education program Kids Alive Do the Five.
“Closing these local pools will drive children to cool off in dangerous areas, unsupervised. It will only lead to tragedy. The Royal Life Saving National Drowning Report shows rivers and creeks were the top locations for drownings (20%) and this region is full of them!”
“Tragically people who live in regional areas are twice as likely to drown than those who live in metropolitan Melbourne. These deaths are preventable, but only if local authorities keep pool facilities and learn-to-swim programs easily accessible,” Lawrence said.
The hidden dangers in channels, rivers and irrigation systems involve strong undercurrents, hidden piles, weeds and debris, varying depths, regulator gates that can open and close quickly, drains, submerged trees, sandbars and rocks.
Kirsten Wright, who has spent almost 30 years as a swimming competitor, coach and VICSWIM teacher at Tongala Swimming Pool – one of the earmarked centres for closure – says that the proposal will have long-term negative effects on the local area.
“We have presented everything to the committee that has been asked of us, only to be met with another loophole and criteria to meet,” she said. “The council are not being transparent about what else we need to do in order to keep the pools open.”
A public rally will be held on Sunday 29th May from 1pm at the Kyabram Swimming Pool, Cnr or Fenuaghty and Union Streets, Kyabram , 3620.