FORMER Corowa Shire mayor Gary Poidevin has unloaded on Federation Council after its decision to endorse construction of a replacement outdoor 50-metre swimming pool in the town.
Mr Poidevin, who unsuccessfully stood for election last year, said rejecting a 25-metre indoor pool was the biggest backward step for Corowa ever made by a council.
The decision to endorse construction of another outdoor pool and continue to investigate an indoor heated pool complex was decided 5-4 yesterday with the backing of mayor Pat Bourke, deputy mayor Shaun Whitechurch, Cr Andrew Kennedy, Cr Bronwyn Thomas and Cr Norm Wales.
“I believe there is an inner circle and it has been there since the election of this council,” Mr Poidevin, a swim club life member, said.
Cr Whitechurch moved and Cr Kennedy seconded the motion which included keeping the option of building an indoor heated pool alive even though council has only about half of the required funding to build either an outdoor or indoor complex presently.
“If the 50-metre pool option is progressed we will be looking at a full aquatic centre which will make Corowa a come to place,” Cr Whitechurch said.
“I agree we need to cater for the older generation, but does it mean we are going to be a town and a shire that continues to look after older people and make no effort to attract young families?”
The Federation Council area is older and ageing faster than the regional, state and national average with one of the highest percentages of people aged over 65 years in NSW of 27 per cent in 2016 and to increase to 36 per cent by 2036.
“I ask those in support of an outdoor pool only open 15 to 16 weeks of the year to think again and include the needs of the older generation,” Cr Gail Law said.
“There is nowhere in the cooler season to swim or exercise for health therapy, aqua aerobics or year-round learn-to-swim programs. We need to be a council that is all inclusive.”
Two former Corowa mayors, Paul Miegel and Fred Longmire, also spoke in favour of an indoor pool.
“We need to fundamentally build a facility that can be used by the broadest section of the community for the largest proportion of the year,” Cr Miegel said.
Cr Longmire said council was making a decision for the next 50 years.
“The two most vulnerable age groups we should be looking after are our elderly and our young,” he said.
“If the old pool goes let it go because those days are gone.”
Cr David Longley said Howlong residents used Wodonga pools presently, but would head to Corowa if an indoor pool existed.
“They haven’t even been considered in this debate.”