A SHORTER season and cuts to operating hours at Mt Helena Aquatic Centre has ignited a fire in the hearts of the community.
An online petition to Save Mt Helena Pool gained more than 800 signatures in its first two days and surpassed its 1000-signature target on Wednesday.
Mt Helena Residents and Ratepayers Association president Joan Quinn said the Shire of Mundaring’s decision to cut the pool season from 22 to nine weeks was “drastic” and she was “absolutely overjoyed” at the community’s response to the petition.
“After I read the Council report to minimize the pool’s operational season I spoke with councillors who said they did not think the community had much to do with the pool, I said, I think you’re wrong,” she said.
“The community was very supportive; they’ve put a lot of effort in to have that pool.”
Shire President John Daw said “extensive community consultation” regarding aquatic center rates and services was conducted in March and April with 933 participants responding online, by hard copy and telephone survey”.
“In addition, councillors attended a range of community forums to discuss the various proposals which included potential changes to the Mt Helena Aquatic Centre amongst others,” he said.
Mrs Quinn commented that no councillors had attended Mt Helena resident’s association meetings to talk about operating hour changes at the aquatic center this year.
“We had a resident’s association community meeting which councillors came to talk about rates but we were not aware of cuts to (the aquatic centre’s) services,” she said.
Council’s resolution to reduce the season length and opening hours was made based on low attendance of the facility in 2016/17 including 27 days where zero attendance was recorded.
Cr Daw said in the past year 92 per cent of attendance occurred over the nine weeks of summer and that reducing the pool’s season from 22 weeks down to a peak 9-week period would save ratepayers more than $50,000 in operational costs per year.
The Mt Helena resident’s association will present the petition at Tuesday’s Shire of Mundaring Council meeting.
By Claire Ottaviano