Park picked for pool

The site of the Gippsland Regional Aquatics Centre has been confirmed as Traralgon’s Hubert Osborne Park following Latrobe City Council’s endorsement at a meeting on Monday.

The state government pledged $46 million for the centre in March as part of the its sports infrastructure package from the $266 million Hazelwood transition fund.

Hubert Osborne Park was nominated as the new pool site in 2011 and a policy was endorsed in April 2016 to protect the park from any sale or change to existing uses, before council officially confirmed the site on Monday.

Traralgon Swimming Club head coach Brian Ford welcomed the confirmation of the site enthusiastically.

“The position of the pool is a logical position,” he said.

“It’s at the centre of Traralgon, it makes so much sense being close to town.

“People visit the town and they want to go where it all happens.”

Mr Ford said the concept of the new and improved pool was first raised about 40 years ago.

“I’ve been involved in a number of feasibility studies over the years and the residents down there are happy with the situation.

“It is a great thing for everyone [and] the community as a whole for this fantastic new complex to go here.”

Mr Ford said the construction of the pool would help to establish Gippsland as a sporting hub of Victoria.

“Particularly in relation to what has gone on in this area … with all the power stations closing, it is a good thing for the community,” he said.

“With everything that is going on in the region, the Victorian government and councillors are looking to make Gippsland a sporting hub of Victoria.

“The third thing is, it will help the sport of swimming and other water-related sports. It’s a win-win.

“As long as the community embrace it and use it, it will be a terrific complex to have.”

Council also voted to establish a nine-member project representative group for the aquatic centre project, which will include representation from Traralgon Community Development Association, Locals Residents Group, Swimming Victoria, Sport and Recreation Victoria, Latrobe Health Assembly and Latrobe City councillors, along with a selected community representative.

Latrobe City Council mayor Darrell White said the community voice in the project was critical to building a platform for success.

“Harnessing the voice of the community will be vitally important in this process,” Cr White said.

“The reference groups will serve as critical interface points between council and the community.

“Local representatives will strengthen the community’s already strong voice in the planning, design and construction of the aquatic centre and sports stadium.”

Council also agreed on a Project Reference Group Terms of Reference for the new facility, appointing Cr Harriman as chair with Cr Howe and Cr Law as group members.

It is anticipated that the initial stage of consultation will be from February 2018 to May 2018.

“Council will now hold a public expression of interest process to seek nominations for the community representative members, with the expectation this will be completed by February 2018,” Cr White said.