All in Favour of Chewton Pool


To ascertain the candidates’ support for our independent community pool we set the following questions to each one:

1. Do you support the retention and future development of Chewton Community Pool?

2. Are you prepared to commit to Chewton Pool for the term of office if you are elected to Mount Alexander Shire Council?

3. Are you prepared to support a vote to provide ongoing financial support to Chewton Pool?

4. Are you willing to support submissions we may prepare for State or Federal funding to upgrade Chewton Pool in your term of office, if elected?

Their replies are as follows: (alphabetical order)

Tim Barber:     As a candidate for the Calder ward I vehemently support the Chewton pool and the champion efforts of you and your committee in preserving not only the pool but the integrity of your local community. I will challenge the council and CEO on any decisions contrary to the interests of the local pool. In answer to your questions I give you a strong YES to all!

Peter Frith:      Thank you for the opportunity to give you my views on the Chewton Pool and by extension a few other matters.

The first ‘other matter’ is the use of Consultants by the Shire. You may have seen a paragraph in the article about me in Friday’s Castlemaine Mail. This reads: “…From time to time, council uses consultants’ reports as a crutch for their decision-making rather than living or lying by their decision…”.

The Chewton Pool ‘experience’ is a classic example of this. In the first instance, it is not for a consultant to recommend that all existing pools be abandoned to assist with the affordability of a new centralised pool. It is well and truly for the Council to decide – in consultation with us – how to afford the proposed new pool. If sacrifices are required, they don’t necessarily need to be the existing pools. For the Council to simply adopt and apply the consultant report, without consultation is inexcusable.

I have also said in my letter to the members of the Ward (copy attached FYI) (Due to lack of space copy is not included here) that I support community led initiatives and must commend your group in pulling your response together so resoundingly, professionally and successfully.

Is it reasonable for me to assume that at this stage, you are enjoying your successes, but need the confirmation of on-going Council support so you can keep committing the time and energy to build support and alternate revenue streams for the venue? And indeed, if all things go swimmingly (apols), that such an arrangement could be terrific for the medium to long term?

1. Yes I certainly do. I consider a pool to be a wonderful community asset during the summer months, especially an outside one with enough shade.

2. Yes I am.

3. Yes I am.

4. I talk in my letter attached, of working with State Government in modifying what they grant to us – ie some grants are useless to us in my view. Given the professionalism of the Chewton Pool inc, together with the sweat-equity and in-kind support already invested to capitalise the pool’s finances, I would certainly support submissions you may prepare for State or Federal funding (subject to the content and style of the sub-mission of course!).

(A copy of Peter Frith’s letter to members of the Calder Ward is available by emailing a request for a copy to

Jill Loorham:     Having read the comments from the other candidates for the Calder ward mentions, not one of them mentions that children need to be able to walk (or ride their bikes) to their local pool.

I’m stating the obvious really, but the comments posted by the other nominated candidates for the Calder Ward bi-election sound, to say the least, opportunistic.

For the record (in case the survey still doesn’t arrive in my IN box), I support the retention of the Chewton Pool, the Harcourt Pool and the Castlemaine Pool, in fact, all the pools that are currently functioning in the Shire.

If Chewton Pool people look in the local paper, they will see a letter from me published in the Midland Express, last Tuesday, in which I strongly support a rather (perhaps outdated?) notion of the Shire finding out what the residents really want – particularly so, when there is a question of vast sums of ratepayers money being spent.

I’ve also said, in interviews published in both the Castlemaine Mail and the Midland Express during the past three weeks, that I would personally love to have a heated 50m indoor pool. However, I question how (and who) would pay for it.

Our Shire (unless supported with State and Federal funds for the purpose) cannot afford the multi-million dollar plan mooted.

I’ve admired, from a distance the work the Chewton people have put in to retain their pool and I hope sincerely, that funding will continue after the current three-year funding arrangement finishes

Can I guarantee to vote ‘yes’… to all the questions on the survey –
The truthful answer, from all candidates, should be: 
‘No, I can’t guarantee a “yes”, but I will support every effort to retain Chewton’s pool’. 
The reality is, the Calder Ward representative is one of seven Councillors.

In my return phone call to Rose, after she told me about the survey, I asked why all of the currently elected Councillors were not being included in this survey. I pointed out that to not ask sitting Councillors the same question may be a grave mistake. Ten months is a long time; that’s the time until the end-of-year, full Council election – and a lot can happen in ten months. Contracts can be let.

After so much discussion surrounding the issue of local pools versus the proposed new pool and no decisions yet made (that we know of), I am still no further advanced in knowing whether the driving force for a new indoor pool – or its location – is one (or many) Councillors or the Shire Officers themselves.

If my answers don’t fit the criteria for the Chewton Pool survey questions, I will just say that I am not driven to ‘fit the bill’ or to look good in any survey – or to provide answers with the main aim of pleasing the recipient – or the world wide web.

With my very best endeavours, I will attempt to answer any question asked of me (if I receive it!) and I add here, that I will expect a worthwhile discussion to be the outcome.

I invite members of the public to phone me.

I’ll attempt to answer any reasonable question and if I don’t know the answer, I’ll say so. I’ll probably ask some questions myself. That’s how I think things work.

My phone number is readily available. It’s in the phone book.

Hans Paas:    

1. Yes. This is a very important community facility that contributes to the health and well being of all who use it. I will also be seeking to have the community recreation staff of the council working with the pool committee to further develop the pool to ensure that it is used by a wide cross section of the community.

2. Yes, and in the forthcoming budget I will be seeking an increase in the council contribution to reflect the need for it to be put on a long-term sustainable financial basis.

3. Yes, see above.

4. Yes and I am prepared to participate in any deputations and negotiations seeking funding from other levels of government and would gladly put my experience and skills in this area at the disposal of the pool committee..

Your success in saving the pool partly inspired my decision to nominate in this election. I am passionate about representing and advocating for passionate people and this was in great evidence throughout the fight. Your efforts have become a model of the kind of ‘community building’ that I am hoping to engage in if elected to our shire council.

John Tapper:     Firstly I am in favor of the Chewton Pool and the Harcourt pool continuing to exist. They are not just swimming pools; they are social and community places and need to be retained.

A conglomerate pool at Castlemaine does not meet those needs or requirements.

Second, any upgrading would be supported, within reason and within economic capability, and probably with some input from the local community, if outside budget wants were on the list.

Yes I would support the vote for the pool, and, subject to review of the content, I would support a submission.

A pool, even more than a tennis court and as much as a park or general games court, etc, gets small communities talking and interacting , as well as providing an amenity that is not 5 kms away.

I trust that supports your groups thoughts, and I request your votes, as the current Council is not listening well or acting prudently.


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