COLAC has secured $2.8 million for a new hydrotherapy pool, with the announcement coming on the anniversary of pool campaigner Helen Schmitt’s death.
The Federal Government will put in the cash for the $3.6-million heated pool, which will help treat people with arthritis, injuries and other conditions.
Campaigners including Mrs Schmitt started lobbying to build the pool after the State Government closed a therapy pool at Colac’s Colanda Centre in 2003.
Friday’s funding announcement came a year to the day after Mrs Schmitt’s death.
Corangamite MP Darren Cheeseman said he would ask Colac Otway Shire Council to name the pool in Mrs Schmitt’s honour, recognising her fundraising and lobbying.
“I’m just floating the idea that perhaps the new pool could be called the Helen Schmitt hydrotherapy pool; but of course that would be up to Colac Otway Shire,” Mr Cheeseman said.
He said the funding was a “big win for Colac” and it would be in the federal budget which the government would release tomorrow night.
He congratulated Colac Arthritis Self-Help Group and hydrotherapy pool committee members for championing the project.
“A hydrotherapy pool will have significant health benefits from people recovering from injuries through to elite sportspeople,” Mr Cheeseman said.
Mr Cheeseman said the pool would also provide therapy to people with disabilities.
“The $2.8 million builds on the significant $3.8 million Federal Government investment for the basketball courts at Bluewater Fitness Centre,” he told the Colac Herald.
Mr Cheeseman said the grant was from the government’s health and hospitals fund.
“I encouraged the shire to make an application because the need for a hydrotherapy pool was very compelling and the need was identified many years ago,” he said.
Council chief Rob Small said the funding was “fantastic news” for the “well-used facilities” that served more than 1000 members and regular visitors from outside the shire.
Colac mayor Stephen Hart said the pool would cost $3.6 million and the council would look to other levels of government to cover the rest of the cost.
The hydrotherapy pool will be part of an extension at the south-east corner of Bluewater, which will include access ramps, change rooms, showers, a sauna and a spa.
The pool will be a joint-use development in partnership with Colac Area Health.