‘Can we keep our pool open?’

YOUNG VOICE: Hugh Maguire stood tall in front of administrators, armed with a council agenda and his statement about the pool closures in Wangaratta. PHOTO: Steve Kelly

A TEENAGER with ambitions to become a lifesaver has made a stand in the council chambers, giving his views on the closures of the Yarrunga and Olympic pools.

While many might see his action as a final gasp, perhaps after the death knell has sounded, for young Hugh Maguire it meant enough for him to ride his bike to council and state his case.

During public question time, the 15 year old proclaimed why both pools should remain open beyond the season just gone.

“We need to put the local people first, we need to be listening to what they have to say, which is ‘can we keep our pool open for the children?’,” he said.

“Parents cannot afford to send their children by transport or the entry cost to the proposed pool at the Barr Reserve.”

Hugh echoed other sentiments that the safety of children would be put in jeopardy if the pools close.

The Yarrunga Pool closure would see children commute to the other side of town or drive them away from public pool spaces to possibly more dangerous swimming spots on the river.

He believes if council takes away the pool facilities, opportunities for him to become a lifeguard could also be hampered.

Council director of community wellbeing, Jaime Carroll, confirmed results from community consultation about the aquatic strategy will be presented at April’s meeting.

She said changes to the strategy will be informed by some of the issues raised by the community through the conversations that took place.

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