Wangaratta Council celebrated building a community as much as building a pool when officially opening new sporting facilities worth $16.88 million on Friday.
A heated outdoor 50 metre swimming pool is the centrepiece of the Wangaratta Sports and Aquatic Centre project, which also added a warm water pool and toddlers pool as well as solar system, car parking, operating plant and lighting.
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack and Victorian Attorney General Jaclyn Symes, Member for Northern Victoria, unveiled the upgrade in a ceremony attended by North East politicians and other special guests including 90-year-old Bill Power.
"Bill was part of the inaugural committee that established the Barr Reserve complex here," Wangaratta mayor Dean Rees told the crowd.
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"Started with basketball, went to squash from there ... it's grown into a multi-purpose facility for the Wangaratta area and Bill was the president of the committee there at the time."
Indi MP Helen Haines also paid tribute to Mr Power.
"He saw a vision for this place, decades and decades ago, and I'm so pleased that he was here today to see that dream fully fulfilled," she said.
As well as federal, state and council funding, Wangaratta Swimming Club raised $100,000, "a lot of chook raffles", as Mr McCormack joked.
He, Cr Rees and Ms Symes emphasised the new facilities would not only benefit future elite swimmers around the region but also those learning to swim, undergoing rehabilitation or managing chronic conditions.
"This pool will help you heal," Cr Rees said.
"That means our children can dream as big as they would like to with our swimming club and also to help our community live happier, healthier lives."
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