Campaign to keep outdoor pool open in winter gets thumbs up

A request to keep the Sunbury Aquatic and Leisure Centre’s 50m outdoor pool open in winter was supported by a majority of councillors this week – but swimmers may be left disappointed this year.

As previously reported, Brian Millett – founder and coach of the Sunbury Triathlon Club – started a petition to keep the pool open year-round saying it was well used last winter while the centre’s leaking indoor pool was fixed.

Milletts’ campaign was supported by Sunbury councillor Trevor Dance, who asked council leisure bosses to look into it.

They told him at Monday’s (25 March) meeting of the council his request wouldn’t be feasible this year due to maintenance work at the Ligar St sports centre.

Brian Millett.
Brian Millett.

Work costing $2.63m is expected to be completed by October (the council’s 25 March agenda incorrectly states October 2025). Leisure bosses stated they support running a trial winter opening next year, and estimate it to cost $5,000 a week ($60,000) to cover utilities, maintenance, and staffing.

At Monday’s meeting, Cllr Dance said the pool should be kept open this winter, despite the planned works, and hoped leisure bosses would review their recommendation.

“I really don’t think it is an impossible task, and after all…One request – three hours a day – to use [the pool] during the off season is not a big ask,” he said.

Aitken ward Cllr Joseph Haweil has visited the Sunbury pool complex and believes public access to the outdoor pool could be achieved without going near any of the planned building works.

Cllr Jarrod Bell said: “We have seen what keeping the pool open over the winter months looks like…I think a trial to understand the broader demands and implications of it is not a bad idea.”

Cllr Bell successfully moved an amendment to Cllr Dance’s motion for the outdoor pool to open as soon as construction works were completed.

Aitken ward Cllr Carly Moore supported council officers saying it would be better to make a decision after a master plan for the Sunbury Aquatic centre is formulated. In June 2023 councillors voted [PDF] to develop a plan for the Sunbury Aquatic and Leisure Centre.

Following a period of confusion, with councillor’s not sure what they were voting for, a second vote established a majority were in favour of running a trial winter opening of the outdoor pool.

In favourAgainst
Trevor DanceCarly Moore
Jarrod BellNaim Kurt (mayor)
Jack MedcraftKaren Sherry
Jim Overend
Sam Misho
Chris Hollow
Joseph Haweil

The outdoor pool season at Sunbury has been extended until Sunday 14 April due to warmer weather.