By Sally McGlew
MUNDARING Shire Council believes usage at the Mt Helena Aquatic Centre does not justify it being upgraded to a heated pool facility all year round.
The annual electors meeting requested the Shire of Mundaring consider the upgrade of the facility so swimming could be completed all year round at the venue and that Council fund the costs to operate for 12 months per annum.
Estimated costs to action the request were put at $250,881.
However, staff said the deficit did not cover the cost of heating the water and the added costs of additional infrastructure.
The figure also did not include a potential replacement of the pool sanitation, filtration and pumping systems which would have to be upgraded for a 12-month operation.
Currently the Mt Helena Aquatic Centre is used by the Eastern Hills High School and the Mt Helena Swimming Club for six months of the year.
Shire of Mundaring staff said to consider the increase in the season length would be very expensive.
Staff said additional operating funds would have to be found.
Cr James Martin said at some future time both the Bilgoman and Mt Helena Pool would need to be looked at and potentially replaced, at a cost of tens of millions of dollars to get a new swimming facility.
Cr Amy Collins said in the next two decades it’s possible the Mt Helena Pool would not be seen as an asset and it would be wise to consider if there is another appropriate location for a swimming pool that could incorporate an indoor facility.
“Low impact exercise like swimming and being able to use it all year round is an asset in an ageing population,” she said.
Cr Collins mentioned that even a 20m indoor heated facility might be appropriate for an indoor pool in the future.
The Mt Helena Aquatic Centre is currently used in daylight hours so new lighting would also be required if the hours of use were extended.
A solar heating system is currently in place for the pool in summer however it too would need an upgrade.
In the 2020/21 summer season the Mt Helena Swimming Club averaged 20 swimmers per session.
Councillors voted to unanimously reject the proposal based on the fact the pool was not fit for purpose.
They also determined the capital and operational costs were too high for a relatively low number of users.