THERE is no way Bridgetown residents will contemplate a Department of Sport and Recreation recommendation the swimming pool centre halve the size of its main swimming pool, centre manager Graeme Pollett says.
"The residents will not support a 25-metre pool, it is not right for a town the size of Bridgetown. We have many lap swimmers and 50-metres is what they come for. We have a thriving swimming club," he said.
Last month the department told the Bridgetown-Greenbushes Shire its funding application for a huge redevelopment of the swimming centre was rejected.
Shire president Brian Moore was disappointed.
"We have been advised the department does not believe our community requires a 50-metre pool, and we should instead consider a redesign for a 25-metre pool," he said.
Cr Moore said all the shire's previous consultation with the Bridgetown-Greenbushes community indicated a strong preference for a new 50-metre pool.
Councillors attended a workshop on January 24 to revisit the project and discuss the implications of the department's decision.
Sport and Recreation Director-General Ron Alexander had expressed a willingness to visit Bridgetown and discuss the project with the councillors. The Shire has capitalised on this willingness to visit and Mr Alexander will see the swimming centre for himself.
"We are holding strong hopes for a good outcome from this meeting," Mr Pollett said.
Cr Moore said any significant changes in project design - such as possible change to a 25-metre pool - are to be considered in consultation with the community.
Bridgetown residents had been looking forward to an upgraded and revamped near-state-of-the-art swimming centre.
The original concept was for a complete refurbishment to begin in May, shire chief executive Tim Clynch said.
The council has been working on the redevelopment project for several years.
The new facility would have included a concrete-and-tiled 50-metre pool with eight lanes.
There would also have been new leisure pools and the usual administration and change facilities and a kiosk.
Mr Clynch had hoped the use of the existing site could have been maximised to include lawn areas to promote passive cricket and ball games as well barbecue areas and possible playground equipment.
"This (would have) encouraged the development of healthy lifestyle choices through a fun, social and family approach," he said.
Community feedback indicated the retention of the 50-metre outdoor pool was vital in the redevelopment process.
"The opportunities to maximise physical activity are considered to be in jeopardy if this is not achieved," he said.
Councillors had hoped the project could have been financed predominately by external funding.
There would have been funding from the Shire of Bridgetown-Greenbushes and through Royalties for Regions allocations. However, funding from the Department for Sport and Recreation through the Community Sport and Recreation Facilities Fund was considered vital.
If the Department of Sport and Recreation had come through for Bridgetown, the new facility would have been completed by November next year.
"The estimated cost of the project (was) just under $4.3 million," Mr Clynch said.
He said the proposed funding had been Royalties for Regions Country Local Government funding of $563,660, Royalties for Regions regional allocations over two years $715,000, a Department of Sport and Recreation grant of $1,432,938 and a shire contribution of $1,552,217.
Mr Pollett said the swimming centre was generally busy and a 25-metre pool would fail to meet the demand and programs.