Gallery: Swim centre waves goodbye to summer

THE opening of Wodonga’s new aquatic centre WAVES has been delayed for a second time.

On advice from contractors, the Wodonga Council yesterday announced the pool would not open until late February and only then if the rain stayed away.

The council last month said the pool would open on February 5 — more than two months after the original date of December 1.

The council’s planning and infrastructure director Leon Schultz said opening this year had seemed achievable when construction started.

But he agreed that allowing for only five wet- weather days in that calculation had been way off the mark.

“When the tender was awarded there was wet weather built in to the contract. We knew it could play a part,” Mr Schultz said.

“Unfortunately, we’re sitting on 38 wet-weather days and we’re assessing the weather over the last week to 10 days.

“The standard number of days was five for the construction process but hindsight is the perfect science.”

Mr Schultz said he was “pretty confident” the pool would open this season.

“But obviously if we have four weeks of rain in January that confidence goes,” he said.

Other than the public, the Ovens and Murray swimming and water polo associations face the biggest setbacks.

Ovens and Murray District Swimming Association vice-president Tap-Ky Duong said several swim meetings would be affected.

“The association is bitterly disappointed,” Mr Duong said.

“Contingency plans will be in place for meetings on February 2, 3 and the Ovens and Murray district championships on February 9 and 10.

With Albury Swim Centre unavailable that weekend, Yarrawonga is the likely replacement venue.

It is expected some swimmers will withdraw, due to the extra travel involved.

Mr Duong, who is also an Ovens and Murray Water Polo Association administrator, said the longer the WAVES opening was delayed the harder it would be to reschedule games.

“It will affect finals if the delay goes any later than February 18,” he said.

“And every weekend after that, five to 20 games will need to be changed.”

Mr Schultz said user groups would be regularly updated on the pool’s progress.

“We, like them, are disappointed, but we’re constantly keeping them in the loop,” he said.

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