It was with a degree of astonishment and amazement when I read your article “Councillor speaks out, of turn” (MN 5 Nov).
It is one month short of 5-years when I wrote to the editor when this hair brained idea was gaining traction, my comments then are as relevant today.
This Bacchus Marsh aquatic centre will be of no benefit to the residents of the shire other than those who live in Bacchus Marsh, the rapidly growing urban township tacked on to the eastern extremity of our shire boundary that is closer to Melton, 10-minutes up the road, a town with an aquatic centre and a town with the infrastructure that Bacchus Marsh craves.
The fact that this Bacchus Marsh aquatic centre is on an advocacy list, whatever that is, and Cr Keogh, Deputy Mayor, advises council is moving forward and ratepayers money is obviously being spent on the concept as there “…has been a number of versions of the plan over many years” demonstrates it is alive.
Cr Keogh advises that council is (again?) appointing a consultant and estimates expenditure of $30 to $40 million for the centre.
Cr Keogh is silent on the running costs of such a facility, which would be in the many thousands of dollars per year.
When some roadworks were required in Gordon in mid 2017 Cr Keogh advocated striking a special rate for Gordon residents as they would be the ones to benefit from those works.
Cr Keogh’s philosophy should be applied to this Bacchus Marsh aquatic centre proposal and a special rate struck for the residents of Bacchus Marsh who would be the beneficiaries of such a centre.
This proposal further demonstrates the widening gap between the needs of the rural ratepayers of the shire and the needs of a rapidly growing urban centre like Bacchus Marsh, and its geographic isolation and disconnection from the rest of the shire. It also effectively demonstrates the imbalance of rural representation on council with the dominance of East Ward Bacchus Marsh councillors.
It is time Bacchus Marsh is excised from the shire and amalgamated with Melton where they share similar needs of a suburban environment.