HUNDREDS of people have signed a petition appealing to Mundaring Shire not to reduce the opening hours of Mt Helena Aquatic Centre, in a move they see as a threat to the future of their local pool.
Councillors agreed in September to decrease the operating hours from 22 to nine weeks and to change the closing time from 7pm to 6pm.
Mt Helena Residents and Ratepayers Association president Joan Quinn said the community was not consulted about the decision.
She said councillors were advised by the Shire that any formal consultation was unnecessary, “other than to inform the community of the changes and the supporting reasons”.
“Residents have told me the pool was built in 1989 next to Mt Helena Senior High School and was made possible through local donations,” she said. “It has been supported by the community from the beginning and ever since.
“The school’s manual arts department was involved with the building and the school’s P & C committee has raised funds through fetes and raffles.”
Mrs Quinn’s children used the pool when they attended the high school.
“What is frightening, the Shire of Mundaring has decreased the pool’s operational times before,” she said.
“In one report on the same night as the Mt Helena pool reduction, the council adopted a new youth service model, which will help meet the needs of young people.
“Their first principle is to increase ‘on the ground’ youth connections across the Shire.
“Activities set around the use of Mt Helena pool would be an appropriate venue for after school or evenings.”
According to the Shire’s website, more than 92 per cent of pool attendance took place over nine weeks last summer and the shorter season will save the council $50,000 in 2017-18.
Mrs Quinn said the data supplied to councillors was limited to last year and did not take into account the views of the community.
She urged residents to add their signatures to the 1064-strong petition at change.com and speak to East ward councillors about the decision.
The pool will open from 3.30pm for nine weeks, December 11 to February 11.