February 19th, 2022HAVE YOUR SAY ON DRAFT AQUATICS STRATEGY
Hepburn Shire Council cannot afford, but has released, its draft Aquatics Strategy for community feedback, with the strategy aiming to provide a 10-year priority plan to guide the future direction for aquatic facilities in the shire, including how best to manage the current aquatics facilities, aspirations for
the future, and ways to maximise residents’ participation.
Along with the future strategic direction, the draft strategy will guide infrastructure
development priorities, asset renewal and upgrades, operational improvement and activation of
aquatics provision throughout the shire.
“We know that indoor aquatic facilities are a long-term investment that cost tens of millions of
dollars. We would need to attract sufficient capital funding for a new facility, along with the
ability to sustain the ongoing operational costs,” said Mayor Tim Drylie.
“The draft strategy recognises there’s more work to be done in terms of detailed planning work
for such a facility, including feasibility, business case and funding strategy, but we’ve certainly
heard that this is an identified community need.”
The draft strategy includes a combination of information on facilities, what council heard during
community consultation, industry research and short-term capital works and maintenance
priorities to increase use of the existing facilities.
The high order indicative costs associated with implementing the actions in the draft strategy are
estimated to be $5.9 to $7.98 million. This includes facility upgrades, compliance and safety
works; along with investment in management and operation, programming and activation, and
further planning for an indoor aquatics facility.
“Councillors want to be very clear and transparent about the fact that we do not have money in
our current budget, nor in our Long-Term Financial Plan set aside for these recommendations,
and these works will need to be prioritised with other council expenditure,” said Cr Drylie.
Further work undertaken as part of indoor aquatics facility planning will identify the capital and
operating costs associated with an indoor aquatics facility and this will need to be further
considered by Council at the appropriate time. Such a facility would require significant external
Council has five public aquatics facilities – Daylesford outdoor pool, Trentham outdoor pool,
Clunes outdoor pool, Calembeen Park Toddlers Pool (Creswick), and Creswick Splash Park. Entry
is free to each facility. The net cost to Council for the 2020/2021 pool season was $385,548.
Council undertook extensive community engagement between April and August 2021 to inform
the draft strategy.
“In spite of the challenges of the year, including due to COVID-19, we heard from more than
1000 shire residents and over 50 shire-wide community organisations and schools,” said Cr
“We heard there’s a strong desire for more opportunities for learn to swim programs,
hydrotherapy, aquatics programs and recreational swimming,” said Cr Drylie.
“We know that our existing pools and facilities are underutilised. This is due to a range of
factors, including ageing infrastructure, water temperature, the weather policy and access,” said
“The draft Aquatics Strategy is very comprehensive and we are keen to hear what the
community thinks of it,” he said.
Read the full draft strategy along with a summarised version and have your say at
https://participate.hepburn.vic.gov.au/aquatics-strategy by Friday 18 March. Council will also
host pop up sessions during February and March at each township for a chance to discuss the
strategy with staff. Keep an eye on Council’s Facebook page and the website for details.