ARARAT residents will meet at Ararat War Memorial on Saturday in a show of support for the city’s outdoor Olympic swimming pool.
On Tuesday last week, Ararat Rural City councillors voted five-to-two to demolish the pool, which has been closed since 2011.
The decision was met with community outcry, with residents taking to social media to voice disappointment and outrage.
Save Our Pool committee member Ambrose Cashin said Saturday's rally was a result of community urging.
“I think people were pretty shocked by the decision,” he said.
“After people heard what was happening there was a post on Facebook asking people to write their name on a white ribbon and tie it to the fence of the outdoor pool to show their support.
“There are between 1000 and 2000 ribbons on the fence.”
Mr Cashin said residents had asked the Save Our Pool committee to host a rally.
“It’s not a demonstration, it’s a public gathering to show council there is a lot of support for the pool,” he said.
The Save Our Pool committee was formed at a community meeting at Alexandra Oval in February 2012.
The committee has been consulting with council since then to get the pool back up and running.
A report to council’s September meeting stated Etch Architects estimated the cost of the project at $2,905,156 in May.
After the tender process, the total project cost was estimated at $2,782,967.
Mayor Ian Wilson said council took into consideration the generous donations and in-kind support from the community, along with money council had allocated to the project.
He said the funding shortfall would be $1.9 million.
The yearly operating costs are just under $470,000, which is equal to a 4.4 per cent rate rise.
Mr Cashin said the committee had asked council to hold off deciding the pool’s fate until October.
“We wrote to each of the councillors asking them to defer their decision until the October meeting so we could look at the costings in the report,” he said.
“We thought there was a way to decrease the amount needed and we wanted to see if we were right.”
Mr Cashin said he did not think a rate rise would be the burden council expected it to be.
“We worked out if it did go up it would cost each ratepayer $54 a year,” he said.
“That’s about a cup of coffee a month – not a week, a month.”
Mr Cashin said he hoped councillors would attend the rally in Barkly Street.
“We’re also encouraging the community to come along and show its support,” he said.
“The support for the pool was there at the first public meeting at Alexandra Oval, when the committee was formed, and I hope it still is.
“If people feel strongly enough about it they will make the effort to attend, no matter what else is going on.
“If people won’t give up their time – then perhaps it justifies council’s decision.”