No pool for kids out of school

WODONGA will be without a public outdoor pool for the summer school holidays for the first time since 1959 after confirmation the completion date for the $10 million project in White Box Rise has been pushed back to early February.

The council has confirmed a new target date of February 5 but completion is again contingent on weather.

The Stanley Street pool, which was opened more than half a century ago, was closed at the end of last summer in anticipation of the WAVES centre opening on December 1.

Work started on the WAVES site in late February. But wet weather encountered by contractors, Zauner Construction, has caused the opening date to be pushed back more than two months.

The Ovens and Murray District Swimming Association will meet next week and consider switching two major meets planned for Wodonga in early February in the event that the latest target date is not met.

One of the events is the two-day district championships on February 9-10.

Wodonga mayor Mark Byatt said the council had no control over the weather.

“Almost 40 days, two months, have been lost in that project to wet weather,” Cr Byatt said.

“We are still working with the contractor to get the job done.

“They have been fantastic, they have worked weekends, rostered days off.

“We are trying to get the pool completed as speedily as we can.

“If we continue to get weather like we did (on Wednesday) obviously it slows the process down.”

The delay in opening the Wodonga pool has also created scheduling issues for Ovens and Murray water polo matches.

“Hopefully it is short-term disappointment,” Cr Byatt said.

“When we open it will be a fantastic facility. Short-term pain sometimes for a lot of gain.”

YMCA Victoria was awarded the contract to operate the WAVES facility four years ago.

YMCA Wodonga manager Andrew Mundy said the delay was unfortunate.

“The biggest difficulty has been scheduling events,” he said.

“Also the recruitment of staff around the uncertainty of the opening date.”