August 11, 2015  |  Adjournment matter

East Keilor Leisure Centre

Mr CARROLL (Niddrie) — I raise a matter for the attention of the Minister for Sport. The action I seek is that the minister visit the East Keilor Leisure Centre and meet with locals and representatives of the Mooney Valley City Council. On 20 July this year I wrote to the Moonee Valley council following its release of preliminary plans for the redevelopment of the East Keilor Leisure Centre. The draft plans do not include the 50-metre pool. I have personal experience of and appreciate what an asset the 50-metre pool is to our community, having grown up as a regular user of the East Keilor Leisure Centre. I have many fond memories of spending a large amount of my youth at the centre, using especially the outdoor Olympic-size 50-metre pool as well as the diving boards during the summer months. I really do appreciate what an asset this pool is to the community, and it is an asset I believe should be protected.

The council has identified the East Keilor Leisure Centre as a priority project in the recently released Mooney Valley City Council Draft Aquatic Leisure Centre Plan. The leisure centre was built in the 1960s and is in urgent need of investment to meet the growing needs of our community, from local school use to hydrotherapy for some of our older residents. Members may be aware that recently the report entitled Future Property Hotspots for Aged Care and Retirement Living Developers showed East Keilor to have the most residents aged between 65 and 84. This recent population data combined with growing enrolments at our local schools present a unique opportunity for East Keilor Leisure Centre to be redeveloped to meet the growing needs of our community. An investment in the order of $27 million to $30 million demands that the redevelopment of the East Keilor Leisure Centre be a legacy for the next generation in our community.

On 3 August I received a letter from the mayor of the City of Moonee Valley, and she has assured me that no decision has been made yet in relation to the future of the 50-metre pool and nor has the council progressed to undertaking a more detailed feasibility study. I believe that the 50-metre pool is worth fighting for. It is a pool that I know and regard fondly. I believe it is an asset we should save. I also believe that keeping the 50-metre pool will be a cost saver for locals, and with school groups otherwise having to travel via road to the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre, a local facility is an extremely worthwhile investment for the future.

Whilst I appreciate that 50-metre pools are often run for only four months of the year, partially enclosing the pool, building a roof, having open side access and providing economical heating will allow for all-round use of the pool by lap swimmers, students from local schools and participants in regional carnivals. If the 50-metre pool goes now, it will be gone forever. I believe it is an asset worth protecting. I hope Moonee Valley City Council reconsiders its decision to exclude it from the draft plan. I understand that the council is going to seek further community feedback, and I welcome the opportunity for the minister to meet with locals to discuss his Better Pools program, which he runs through the Department of Health and Human Services.