Hilltops Council votes to proceed with a splash pool

After nearly two hours of discussion at an extraordinary meeting this week Hilltops Council decided to use funds originally planned for other projects or to take out a loan, to pay for a new splash pool at the Young pool.

Council was forced to come up with the funds after the pool renovation budget was exceeded when large amounts of asbestos were found at the site.

Council staff had the asbestos removed prior to informing councillors of the cost involved, a move that has resulted in more than one Hilltops councillor calling for staff reprimands and general manager Dr Edwina Marks "to consider her position".

On Wednesday council voted to fund the splash pool using funds already allocated to projects at Chinaman's Dam and Garibaldi Gully which haven't commenced.

If the proposed funding transfer isn't approved by the state government council voted to borrow the funds required.

If the transfer is approved council hopes to be able to allocate funding it will receive as part of round 3 of the Stronger Community grants program to Chinaman's Dam and Garibaldi Gully.

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All councillors supported the move with the exception of Councillor Matt Statdmiller who abstained during the vote.

Mayor Brian Ingram pointed out to Cr Stadtmiller that by abstaining he was effectively voting against the decision.

Prior to discussion on the matter council heard from three members of the public who all pointed out why the splash pool should be constructed.

Emma Cockburn who organises the popular Family Duck Day at the pool each year pointed out to councillors that without an appropriate splash pool a lot of Young children would be disadvantaged.

"We need that kids pool, if we don't have it all kids miss out," she said.

Michelle Madden who is secretary of the Young Swimming Club, speaking from a learn to swim perspective told councillors "the value of a medium depth pool can not be underestimated".

"It's a safe place for children to begin exploring a deeper pool, a safe place for children to learn and grow in confidence," Ms Madden said before asking councillors "what would you like your legacy to be, would you like to be seen as the council which got it wrong?".

Another speaker, Tami Stewart compared the councillors to a television comedy.

"An episode of the ABC's Utopia comes to mind," Ms Stewart said, asking the "council to complete the project as intended".

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