‘WE MATTER TOO’: Pool petition fires up debate
RAIN clouds offered the only way Goomeri residents could cool down in town as they gathered to protest the closure of their town pool on Friday afternoon.
The residents have started a petition to have Goomeri Pool open again. It was closed by Gympie Regional Council.
Concerned residents said they wanted to have a space to teach their children and grandchildren how to swim.
With school swimming carnivals starting in term one, Goomeri students will likely have to travel to Kilkivan Pool for their carnival.
Goomeri resident Alison Banbuly used to visit the pool twice a day, but said the facility was closed regularly.
"The pool pump has been playing up since the floods in 2012," Ms Banbuly said.
She has bought a season pass to the pool every year for the past six years.
"This year I haven't had my value out of it," she said.
The council has a free bus to Kilkivan Pool running twice a day.
"I just like walking to our pool," Ms Banbuly said.
"I've been to the Gympie pool, it's a beautiful pool but we just want our pool."
Resident Lyn Broderick said there were also many elderly and disabled people who benefited from a pool.
"Lots of disabled people with their carers are taken to the Gympie pool," she said.
"Travel time takes up lots of the carer's precious time, which makes it a disadvantage for the residents."
The protest has received support from the wider region.
Widgee Crossing resident Denise Russell travelled to Goomeri for the event.
"As a Gympie town ratepayer, I think any funds should be spread right across," she said.
"We are one community."
Petition organiser Toni Jeavons said it was a great turnout.
"It's great. I'm so ecstatic that the town are behind this and are passionate about this. We deserve a new facility," Ms Jeavons said.
She said the small town needed access to health and wellbeing facilities.
"It's a town of 600 and they don't have a gym and now we don't have a pool," she said.
The council allocated $135.8 million for the Gympie region in the 2019/20 budget, which is arranged in operational and capital budgets, rather than regions and towns.
In this year's budget, $195,000 was allocated for maintenance on regional pools, including Kandanga, Goomeri and Tin Can Bay pools.
Last year Kandanga Pool required major work and most of the budget was allocated to that.
The council reported it was working on what was needed to re-open Goomeri Pool, but the pool would not reopen this summer.