January 1st 2008 to February 8th 2008

January 7th 2008: Acting CEO, Jenny Merkus, writes to Moreland Leader newspaper maintaining Council’s wrongful understanding of stage 3A water restrictions and their water Conservation plan requiring Coburg Olympic Pool to be closed to offset water use at other pools.

January 10th 2008: FOCOP meet with Moreland City Council Acting CEO, Jenny Merkus to present a petition with 750 names on it. Council denies they misunderstood stage 3A guidelines and make an undertaking to seek clarification from water authority. A report will also be prepared to identify what is needed to reopen the Coburg Olympic Pool for the remainder of the 2008 summer season. Report to presented to Jan or Feb council meeting. FOCOP to be provided a copy of report before tabling at council meeting.

January 14th 2008: Leader Newspaper leaks internal council memo where council acknowledge they mis-interpreted Yarra Valley Water stage 3A guidelines, resulting in the unnecessary closure of the Coburg Olympic Pool. Memo also states ‘council will write to the Yarra Valley Water to request their agreement to fill the pool’

January 17th 2008: John Fain on ABC radio interviews Moreland Mayor, Joe Caputo.  Cr Caputo admits Council got it wrong resulting in the unnecessary closure of the Coburg Olympic Pool but will not commit to its reopening, claiming Council has not the funds.  Cr Caputo says a report is being prepared to identify what is needed to get the pool open. This report will be used to make a decision on the immediate future of the pool at the next council meeting on January 30th 2008. Cr Caputo offers a shuttle bus service as an interim solution.

January 30th 2008: FOCOP prepare for Council meeting without a copy of the Council report on the pool. A morning meeting with North East ward Councilors Andrea Sharam and Mark O’Brien allows us to hear some of the report findings and gauge Councilors position on the re-opening of the Pool. Both councilors state they would not support the pool re-opening for the 2008 summer or beyond. Both councilors claimed the pool is past it’s used by date, requiring too much money to fix.  Councilors talked about the Moreland Aquatic strategy and the Coburg 2020 plan as a solution to the closure of the pool.

January 30th 2008: Moreland Council Meeting, Bell St Coburg. Approximately 30 FOCOP supporters attend meeting. Councilors extend question time to hear many questions from the public gallery.  Councilors dispute claims from the public gallery that the pool has been closed intentionally and claim the closure is temporary. Councilors vote to keep the pool closed for the remainder of the 2008 summer season and have it considered in the next capital works budget in June/July 2008

February 8th 2008: WILLS federal MP Kelvin Thompson writes Climate change and water minister Penny Wong, to help save Coburg Olympic Pool. The letter requested funding assistance and included copies of local paper articles. Local Leader Newspaper features an article on this topic on February 11th

to be continued...

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