Sunbury Aquatic and Leisure Centre's outdoor pool.

Petition launched to keep Sunbury pool open

The founder and coach of the Sunbury Triathlon Club has launched a petition to keep the council-run open air pool at the Sunbury Aquatic and Leisure Centre open during winter.

Brian Millett, 56, who works in addiction recovery as well as being a sports coach, says a petition he left on the counter at the Ligar St sports centre for supporters to sign was taken by staff and not returned to him. He says an online petition, such as that offered by Changes.Org wouldn’t be recognised by the council.

“My only option is to have a paper-based petition,” he says. Download a copy here.

Mr Millett says Sunbury’s open air pool was well used last winter while the leaking indoor pool was closed for repairs costing $525,000 (the initial estimate was $45,000).

Brian Millett.

“The outdoor pool is never normally opened during winter,” says Mr Millett. “But last year it was well used while the indoor pool was closed, with swimmers coming from all over to enjoy the heated pool in the fresh air. I am not alone in wanting it kept open this winter.”

Mr Millett says he’d like the outdoor pool open from 6am until 9am.

“Just three hours in the morning, it wouldn’t take too much for a council lifeguard to be there,” he says. “There are so many benefits…

“We had oldies who were forced to come outside last winter and now they don’t want to go back inside because they’ve realised how good the outdoor pool is. We want it to stay open. It’s the only outdoor pool in the area – until you get to Bendigo.

“If it’s open all year you can train swimming squads, schools can come in, the waiting list to learn to swim is long and drowning stats are up. These are good reasons to keep it open.”

Figures from Royal Life Saving for Victoria show there were 59 drowning deaths between July 2022 and June 2023 – a 26% increase on the 10-year average.

Mr Millett also shared the following figures showing the amount of ratepayer money Hume City Council spent on aquatic facilities during the past 10 years:

  • Aitken ward: $42.3 million
  • Meadow Valley ward: $18.7 million
  • Jacksons Creek ward (Sunbury): $6.1 million

UPDATE: Within hours of this report being published council said Mr Millett’s petition has been returned to the leisure centre’s reception desk and that staff will contact Mr Millett.

Hume City Council has been asked to comment on this story. Sunbury Life has also asked council to state how many hours Sunbury’s pools were closed due to staff shortages in February. It has not responded.

Data and graphic / Royal Life Saving.
Data and graphic / Royal Life Saving.