Hot under collars over pool closure

RESIDENTS are losing their cool after red tape forced the closure of the community pool at Tungamah Primary School.

The school held a public meeting last month where residents were told there was no public liability insurance to allow the operation of the pool.

The 33-year-old pool has not opened this summer and residents of the small town, 20 minutes from Yarrawonga, are furious, especially heading into next week’s heatwave.

“It’s a joke ... does this mean it’s been running in the past without insurance?” Kellie Costigan said.

“The pool was built by the community, for the community and is constantly maintained by the community.

“It’s disappointing and frustrating that a small community can lose a facility that is so well-used.”

School council representative Simon Crawford said the pool had been closed on three previous occasions.

“It was closed two years ago for the same reason,” he said.

“It’s due to safety concerns, there’s no public liability insurance and the pool is on school grounds.”

Mr Crawford said the school was only covered for activities approved by the school council.

Residents have a copy of an agreement dating back to 1980 that declares the swimming pool is available for use by “residents of the shire of Tungamah or various bodies, sporting or otherwise as approved by the committee of management”.

A sign out the front of the pool says “by entering this facility, entrants accept that they do so at their own risk and accept that they waive and forego any legal right they may otherwise have against the Tungamah Pool Committee and or against its agents”.

In previous years, the pool had been open to the public during summer months between the hours of 4pm and 7.30pm.

Mr Crawford said the school was in talks with the Department of Education but “still didn’t have any answers”.

“It’s also disappointing from the school council’s point of view because we are residents here and we want it resolved,” he said.

A spokesman for the Department of Education said it was up to the school to decide if it would re-open the pool to the public.

Murray Valley MP Tim McCurdy has gone into bat for the residents and will arrange a meeting with the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development regional director, Peter Greenwell.

“I am looking to set up a meeting sometime next week,” he said.

Moira Council is also looking into options to solve the issue, mayor Peter Mansfield said.

“Council is investigating this as a matter of urgency,” he said.

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