A big pool problem

Nearly six decades ago a group of committed Mt Barker residents decided their town needed a new pool.
Instead of pushing for a handout, they opened wallets and picked up tools to make their dream project a reality.
Their community-minded vision delivered this town a facility that countless people have enjoyed over the many years since.
Mountain Pool is a popular place to enjoy a swim and relax on the grassy, shaded slopes surrounding it.
When those volunteers were toiling with shovel and wheelbarrow they probably didn’t imagine the pool would remain in use for 60 years. It’s had a long and loved life, but now is in its final years.
With $220,000, plus a further $630,000 in running costs, the Mt Barker Council can patch it up well enough to last probably another five years. But before then it has a tough choice to make.
Can it afford the estimated $16m to replace the pool with a new facility?
Certainly a council that earns only about $20m in rate revenue a year could not afford to fund such a project on its own.
And a pool is just one of a number of big-ticket items the council will need to pay for in coming years as the region’s population more than doubles.
It will need a new civic centre, new recreation facilities at land it owns on Bald Hills Road, possibly a new or extended library, new community centres, a new wastewater network … the list runs on.
The council and community will face a tough decision in years to come about where a new pool sits in that list of priorities.

Rail crossings

At first glance removing the pedestrian railway track crossing at Bogaduck Road at Aldgate is a commonsense business decision.
The crossing didn’t meet standards and, with the passenger railway service long gone, there was no longer any need to provide access to both sides of the track.
But just because passenger rail has disappeared from the Hills, it doesn’t mean the routes to and from this transport service are no longer used.
For more than a century residents have used the walkways and laneways and track crossings that crisscross the Stirling district.
They have become an integral part of the transport network of a community.
If the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) is going to run its business through this community, then it has an obligation to consider the needs of the residents.
Removing a century-old pedestrian crossing without public consultation is not meeting that obligation.

For the full report, see the print issue of The Courier.