A petition signed by 1123 people has called on Hobsons Bay council to reconsider its 2019 decision to close the Laverton Swim and Fitness Centre.
Originally called Laverton Memorial Swimming Pool, it opened in June 1976 and was dedicated to those who had served in various conflicts in which Australia had been involved.
The $64 million Hobsons Bay Aquatic Strategy 2019-2030, endorsed by the previous council in July, includes building a $40 million pool in Altona Meadows and replacing the Laverton pool with a $3 million water play and youth facility.
Lead petitioner Sarah Dowling said residents and centre users were “deeply upset over the unsubstantial consultation”.
“The pool was funded by the residents of Laverton and the Werribee shire council,” she said.
“The Laverton pool is so important to our history – the pool is our community pool and has serviced many suburbs for 40 years.
“The pool is still serving the public with 1552 swim school members.
“The centre has 526 members, with many people using the pool and gym, aerobic classes and water sports for the elderly, and lessons for the kids.
“It has a swim program for over 300 autistic children.
“This pool was a dedicated war memorial; it was dedicated to the men and women who served in the time of war, for our freedoms.”
Newly-elected councillor Matt Tyler, who tabled the petition at this month’s council meeting, said the aquatic strategy had not received much community input.
“The reality is that only 75 people across the municipality provided input in response to the draft aquatic strategy and the decision to close the pool was one line in an over 30-page document,” he said.
Cr Diana Grima, also serving her first term, told the meeting that her family had been among residents who helped establish the pool.
“There’s people from the community who raised funds to get this swimming pool for their great community and my father and grandmother were [among] them,” she said.
“Unfortunately, residents have come to me and and my colleague, Cr Tyler, saying they had no awareness of this, it could be a possibility that it’s closing down.”