Mid Murray Council consider spending $1 million to upgrade the Cambrai Pool

More than $1 million could be spent to keep the aging Cambrai Pool alive in an effort to save the township’s dwindling population.

The Mid Murray Council is set to commission a feasibility study, costing between $15,000 and $23,000, to find the most efficient way to rescue the pool for the sake of the community.

Since the pool was built in 1964, and the children’s pool added in 1976, it has gone without major upgrades.

However, in recent years, the council has re-roofed the change rooms and toilets, provided a pump shed and barbecue facility and undertaken repairs to the concrete structure so it would be operational over the past two summers.

An engineering assessment, carried out earlier this year, revealed the pool’s aging infrastructure questioned the integrity of the concrete structure, showed tiles were lifting up, and leaks were appearing in overflow pipes and the main water pipe.

It also determined the cost of the short-term priority list was up to $857,000, with total works adding another $266,000.

At the October 10 meeting of council, Councillor Mardi Jennings suggested the council investigate replacing the current facility with a smaller pool.

“If we’re going to raise the million-dollar question, we need to find a way to do something more cost effective,” she said.

While he agreed a smaller pool would be suitable, Councillor Brian Meyers questioned whether it was worth the money to undergo the feasibility study.

In response, Cr Jennings said it was essential council gathered the evidence.

“This pool is very important for this community, especially for the children who have access very little… it might be underutilised but its very important,” she said.

Councillor Peter Raison said it was paramount that small communities like Cambrai had their say.

“We cannot presume what we want is the same as what they want,” he said.

“The township is slowly dying and feel abandoned at times so we really need to listen to them.”

Following discussion, elected members moved to conduct a feasibility study, incorporation community consultation and consideration for a smaller pool.

Council’s chief executive officer Russell Peate said the feasibility study would not only allow the community to be a part of the process, but would also help to attract grant money for the project.

“The first study was done to identify long-term and short-term requirements to keep the pool going and the feasibility study we will now undergo will determine the most effective way to upgrade the pool,” he said.

“It’s crucial the community is part of the process.”