HORSHAM Aquatic Centre could be home to a water play and splash park if the Coalition is elected at next month’s state election.
Member for Lowan Emma Kealy announced on Tuesday that a Coalition government would contribute more than $2 million towards the construction of a water park at the centre.
Ms Kealy said she wanted the park to be “awesome”.
“We know what a difference the Mildura splash park has made to them – it means people have something else to do,” she said.
“Local families will benefit with a safe way for kids to stay active, particularly during our long, hot summers. It will also be that great introduction to water for kids to make sure they stay active. We need to ensure our kids know how to swim and are confident in the water.
“We’re really excited about this announcement; I’m working hard to get re-elected in November so we can make this a reality.”
She said the park would help attract more people to live in and visit Horsham.
“We know there are opportunities within the Wimmera to build up our tourism; we have the Grampians National Park and the Silo Art Trail – there’s so much in our region. We need to do more to show people what we’ve got and encourage them to stay another day,” she said.
“We’ve been working closely with many people to figure out what we can do differently. Earlier this year we announced a $150,000 pledge to start plans for the Wimmera River precinct.”
Ms Kealy said she hoped the park would be completed by 2020 if the Coalition is elected next month.
“So it’s not too far, but it will give us enough time to iron out exactly what it will look like. There are some great plans already for the centre, so we’ll be looking at what could be included,” she said.
Horsham Rural City councillor Les Power said the park would help make Horsham a tourist destination for families.
“If we can get something here, a bit bigger than Hall Gap’s splash park, then it will encourage more people to visit. The YMCA are running a great complex here and this will just boost it,” he said.
The water play and splash park is a key element of the council’s Master Plan for the redevelopment of the centre. In August, the council made the redevelopment of the centre one of its major election advocacy priorities.
The centre’s redevelopment plan includes four stages, with the first – an outdoor 50 metre pool, filtration, pipework and flat deck – already funded.
The remaining stages include accessibility improvements for the indoor pool, a water play area, playground and shade area as well as a hydro pool and gym improvements.