Funding for Traralgon’s $30 million indoor swimming pool is a modest ask, according to the state opposition spokesperson for Sport and Recreation.
Member of Parliament Damian Drum visited Traralgon Outdoor Pool on Monday to inspect the “outdated” facilities.
Mr Drum was joined at the pool by Member for Morwell Russell Northe and Member for Eastern Victoria Melina Bath, along with Latrobe City councillor Dale Harriman and Traralgon indoor pool advocates.
Commending the local community on its united stance, Mr Drum said it was a big step to have the community and council come together to support what it wants.
“It’s a big step… when you have community and local government on the same side it should just flow,” he said.
He encouraged residents to not lose hope, highlighting Bendigo, Ringwood and Frankston as examples of the State Government “finding money” to develop indoor pools.
“Don’t believe what they say, the government does contribute to swimming pools,” Mr Drum said.
“And don’t think the government doesn’t read your letters or hear your feedback, they read every letter and listen to every one.”
Mr Northe said Traralgon had one of the biggest populations in regional Victoria without an indoor Olympic-sized heated pool.
“This is an issue that has huge support in our community with a petition signed by more than 3500 people from Traralgon and the wider Gippsland area,” Mr Northe said.
“I plan on keeping up the fight to see this community get the indoor heated pool it desperately wants.”
Cr Harriman said the current outdoor pool needed to be replaced.
“The pool floor was only meant to last five years when it was redone 10 years ago,” Cr Harriman said.
“The flooring will soon fail.”
He said an indoor pool with a smaller outdoor pool would be better suited to the Traralgon community, allowing the facility to be used year round.
However, he said State Government may not fund the project unless a gym was added to the stand alone pool.
“Council and community do not want to see another gym in the area,” Cr Harriman said.
“We don’t want a gym, we have too many in Traralgon but we may not get funding without it.”
Mr Drum said he was confident the Traralgon community would one day see an indoor pool, without the gym facility, if there was enough noise.
“I am sure we will be back here one day cutting the ribbon,” Mr Drum said.
A spokesperson for Sport Minister John Eren said Latrobe City Council had not made a formal application to the government to fund a Traralgon indoor pool.
Through the Labor Government’s $100 million Community Sports Infrastructure Fund, Victorian councils can apply for funding of up to $3 million for aquatic centres.
Council confirmed it had not applied for state funding as it had not found a suitable funding source available for the amount needed for the project.