by Melissa Alexander
One of the reasons Moreland City Council are hesitant about re-opening up our local outdoor pool is that they have dreams of a fantastic new facility that will encompass all the best water activities. I imagine the new aquatic centre will be enormous with everything from surfing to diving. If we forfeit what we already have to make way for bigger and better we will lose exactly what we love about our old pool.
Coburg outdoor Olympic pool is surrounded by tall gum trees, grassy knolls and is right next to a significant meeting place of our indigenous friends, the confluence of the Merri and Edgars creeks. Not only have we lost a communal meeting space of our own, we know have nowhere to cool off. In Coburg North we have no access to the beach and nobody has their own backyard pool. The council has put on a bus that goes to other pools in the municipality but I cannot take my double pram on this bus. I must drive myself. Previously I used to walk seven minutes to our pool and even if I did not swim but just sat and watched my children play, I would cool down.
Sitting on the lawn in complete shade, surrounded by the water in the pools and the running water of the creeks, there is always a breeze. There is nowhere else within walking distance where I can achieve this and this is the desired outcome of going to the pool. I cannot cool off at the indoor pool. It is unimaginably uncomfortable sitting on hard wooden benches and sweating under the heater is the last thing I want to do on a forty degree day. Until the new centre is built I have two options, go to the indoor pool or drive to an outdoor pool.
The new facility is actually nothing more than a pipe dream at the moment and is years away. There are no plans, nothing is concrete. It may never happen. The onus is on the council to maintain current facilities before they move onto new ones. With all their talk of being green and sustainable I don’t know of anything that is more unsustainable than letting infrastructure fall into disrepair as an excuse to build brand new.
This year is an election year. I put it to the people of Moreland to vote in only councilors that will support the re-opening, maintenance and upkeep of our existing pool. I also ask that we put the pressure on the council to build an aquatic centre that will meet our needs. We do not always need the most magnificent and stupendous of structures. Something that is appropriate to place and need will always be best.