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Indoor Heated Pool Project



May 2017 - Interim Plan

The Market Testing process for the Harbour Development is well underway with the final report scheduled for June. Regardless of the outcome, realistically, it will take many years for a pool to be built, if at all!

So, in the interim, the School has approached us to reconsider the cost and feasibility of heating and enclosing the current pool. We are currently working hard costing this.

The Colac Otway Shire is currently displaying its Council Plan for the next 4 years and the more letters they receive asking for an indoor pool for Apollo Bay to be a priority, the more likely it is to happen.

Please write to them stressing the importance of this facility to our community. In your own words or using the attached letter as a guide. Deadline is Friday 2 June.

Submissions can be emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or mailed to Manager, People Performance & Culture, 2 – 6 Rae St, Colac 3250.

The Council Plan can be viewed at the Council’s offices or at under the ‘community consultations’ tab.

If you have any queries about this feel free to contact the Secretary, Jane Gross, on (03) 5237 6335.

March 2015 - Harbour Planning Scheme Amendment to allow for a pool

An indoor pool and wellbeing centre at the Harbour, as recommended in the Feasibility Study (2011), offers the potential to attract funding as part of a larger development at a prominent site to provide for the local community and for tourists.

The Apollo Bay Aquatic Centre made a presentation to the independent panel in December 2014 regarding the Planning Scheme Amendment for the Harbour.  The Council adopted the majority of the recommendations made by the Panel which is now worded to permit the construction of an indoor pool and wellbeing centre in the Harbour precinct.  The Planning Scheme Amendment currently awaits Ministerial approval, after which a Development Plan will be prepared.  We will be campaigning to achieve the pool facility to be included in the Development Plan.

Summer 2014/2015

We were busy with fundraising and membership drives over summer.  The committee is grateful to the association's members who helped man stalls at the Schol Expo and also the Local Residents Day in November 2014.  We boast some 250 members!  Again, thanks to our members' assistance, the crayfish raffles in January and February in the main street and the Agricultural Show in March raised a total of $1,500.  Donation tins in the shops filled up over the summer months and have been replaced with new tins.

Support from Community Organisations & Businesses

We are most grateful to the following community groups for their pledges or donations to date:

  • Apollo Bay's
  • Arts Inc Boardriders Bowls Club
  • Chamber of Commerce Community Bank CWA
  • Discussion Group Farmers Market Football Club
  • Golf Club Health Foundation Historical Society
  • Lions Club News-sheet Otway Coast Committee
  • Otway Health Patchwork & Quilters Club
  • P-12 College RSL Senior Citizens
  • Spinners Ukeholics

and to the following local businesses:

  • Apollo Bay Bakery Apollo Bay Hotel Apollo Bay Surf School
  • Apollo Bay Taxi Service LJ Hooker
  • Gangus Promotions Johanna Seaside Cottages Trading Post
  • Waterfront Motor Inn Apollo Bay Surfcoast Chinese Restaurant

Letters have been sent to businesses and community groups, who have not yet pledged, to seek their support.  We are aiming to raise a total of $300,000 in order to strengthen our capacity to lobby government bodies to secure capital funding.  Please help us to reach our target!

Thank you also to all of those generous individual members of our community who have also pledged and donated to date.

September 2014

Our AGM was held on 14th September at the RSL, where the following committee was elected:

President: Linda West

Vice President: John Riches

Secretary: Jane Gross

Treasurer: Barb Birkett

Ordinary Members: Gary McPike, Edmond Shea, Georgina Harrison, Melanie Howell, Emma De Grandi, Pat Williams

Many thanks to retiring Committee members: Cath Caddy and Brian Humphries; Cr Frank Buchanan for chairing the election; Cr Stephen Hart and all of those who attended; the RSL for the venue; and the musicians for a great afternoon.

August 2014

Harbour Site

As you may be aware, there has been no decision made as yet as to the siting of the indoor pool facility.  The original Feasibility Study identified the Harbour as the most appropriate site.  At that time there was much controversy surrounding the development of a hotel at the Harbour which made it difficult to seriously consider a pool facility.

Since then, we have explored the School site and have received indications that capital funding will be difficult to secure at this site.  In contrast, the Harbour provides a prominent site which will improve the ability to attract capital grants.

Over the last year, the Colac Otway Shire has been conducting a Planning Scheme Amendment for the Harbour.  The original amendment was worded in such a way that an indoor heated pool facility could never be built at the Harbour.  To the Councillors' credit, Amendment C73 for the Apollo Bay Harbour has been re-exhibited in response to numerous submissions.

The updated amendment prohibits a hotel or accommodation at the Harbour and now allows an indoor heated pool/health & wellbeing facility as a permitted use.  This Amendment is not yet approved and is open for submissions until Wednesday 10 September.  The more submissions received in support of this Amendment the better.  If you agree and are able to write a submission please do so asap.  Here is a sample letter which may be of some help if you don't have time to write your own.  Send to Planning Department, Colac Otway Shire, PO Box 283, Colac 3250.

May 2014

Planning Panels Victoria conducted a Directions Hearing in Apollo Bay on 26th May, regarding the process the Council should follow given the objections submitted to the Planning Scheme Amendment (PSA) of the Harbour Master Plan.  The Council plans to make changes to the PSA, conduct a community forum and exhibit the revised document for public comment.

Apr. 2014

A very successful musical fundraiser was held at the RSL, raising almost $2,000.

After a concerted community effort, Council confirmed its support for the Planning Scheme amendment.  The excerpt from the Council minutes, 23 April 2014, states: 'Council confirms it supports provision being made within the Special Use Zone (Schedule 2) for a permit application to be made for an indoor swimming pool/sea baths and other health and wellbeing uses, and that provision be made for the potential for such facilities to be included within any Development Plan prepared for the Harbour precinct under those controls.'

ABAC Committee members met with Federal MP, Sarah Henderson, to promote the Recreation and Community Hub proposal and submitted a letter to the Western Coastal Board, as a contribution to the new Regional Coastal Plan.

Mar. 2014

Members of a number of organisations in Apollo Bay, including the Health Foundation, Bendigo Bank, Chamber of Commerce and Otway Health developed and supported a Recreation and Community Hub proposal for the Harbour site.  The concept plan included a pool amongst a range of other facilities such as club rooms, function spaces, pathways and wellbeing facilities. Extensive lobbying occurred to encourage the Council to amend the Planning Scheme to allow recreation, leisure, health and wellbeing as permitted uses for the site.

Feb. 2014

The pledges and fundraising total now exceeded $150,000.  The ABAC website was launched.

ABAC Committee members also met with Council to discuss the Harbour Planning Scheme Amendment document.  As exhibited, this Amendment would deem the development of an indoor heated pool facility as a prohibited use.

Jan. 2014

Further funds were received during this month.  The Lions Club newspaper collection provided $1,000 and the Lions Club pledged a further $1,000.  More pledges were received from the Apollo Bay Football Club, Apollo Bay Golf Club, Waterfront Motor Inn, Apollo Bay Taxi Service, the Surf School, the Apollo Bay Hotel and various individuals.  Total pledges now exceeded $140,000.  Many donations were also made, including $400 from the Ukeholics, bringing the donations total to $6,500.  Donation tins were distributed to local shops and businesses and the weekly market stalls provided more funds and new memberships.

Aug. - Dec. 2013

During the latter part of the year much planning work was done, resulting in further fundraising, lobbying and meeting with various organisations.

  • Community pool signs, including thermometers recording the fundraising total, were installed in the windows at the Bendigo Bank and Great Ocean Road Real Estate.  In preparation for fundraising and membership drives during the busy summer season a flag was printed, ready to be displayed at the weekly foreshore markets.
  • ABAC Committee members continued ongoing lobbying of, and meetings with, Members of Parliament and local Councillors.  They also had discussions with Regional Development Victoria re strategies for increasing the likelihood of receiving Government funds for an indoor pool facility.
  • More letters seeking pledges were sent to various organisations and businesses.
  • The Annual General Meeting was held in October 2013 and the following people elected to the ABAC Committee:

Linda West (President); John Riches (Vice President); Jane Gross (Secretary); Barb Birkett (Treasurer); Cath Caddy; Carolyn Harris; Gary McPike; Brian Humphries; Edmond Shea.

The Sale Day at Apollo Bay's Trading Post, a sausage sizzle and a raffle raised another $1000.

Jun. 2013

In June 2013 funds pledged for our indoor pool reached a total of $102,000 with pledges of $92,000 provided by the following organisations:

  • Apollo Bay Community Bank ($20,000)
  • Apollo Bay News ($21,000)
  • Otway Health ($5,000)
  • Apollo Bay & District Health Foundation ($30,000)
  • Apollo Bay Lions Club ($1,000)
  • Apollo Bay Chamber of Commerce ($15,000)
  • and an additional $10,000 from 2 generous community members.

ABAC had input into the school master plan and officially registered as a fundraising organisation with Consumer Affairs Victoria.

Mar. 2013
The Shire are now supporting our pool.

Colac Otway Shire voted unanimously (7:nil) on Wed. 27th March to:

1. provide in-principle commitment to the ongoing operational costs of a proposed Apollo Bay Indoor Aquatic Centre, subject to the funding of operational costs from current expenditure and external funds being sourced for the capital construction of the facility

2. continue to work with the Apollo Bay Aquatic Centre Committee to investigate means to reduce the financial commitment required for ongoing operations

& 3. support the Apollo Bay Aquatic Centre Committee to lobby state and federal governments for capital funds for construction of an indoor aquatic centre in Apollo Bay.


Thankyou EVERYONE for your great support, a great start, let's make this really happen!

The Council meeting to decide on the pool was in Colac at COPACC on Wed. 27th March, 2013 at 5pm.

Here is the Council report and recommendation from the Agenda.

Jane Gross
Apollo Bay Aquatic Centre Inc.

Dec. 2012

 abac dec12

Jul. 2012 - ABAC Annual General Meeting

Thank you to everyone who attended and to those who submitted apologies.  We had a good turn out and a productive discussion about possible operational models & community needs for the indoor pool we are working to achieve.

Our newly elected committee is:

President: Linda West

Vice President: John Riches

Secretary: Jane Gross

Treasurer: John Tallis

5 Ordinary members: Gary McPike, Edmond Shea, Barb Birkett, Cath Caddy & Georgina Harrison

We are very pleased to welcome our 4 new committee members Edmond, Barb, Cath & Georgina and know they will add valuable expertise to the project.

Thank you to Rhiannon Cox for her great committee contribution over the last year.

We are grateful to retain two Council-elected Councillor reps on the committee in Stephen Hart & Frank Buchanan.


Our committee has decided to take Rob Small's advice and to pursue the community health & education avenue & pursue the School site as the minimum capital cost.  To this end we will meet with the Quantity Surveyor on site in July 2012 and will be analysing the operational costs for the School site as per the Feasibility Study.

May 2012 - Meeting with Rob Small

The ABAC committee met with Colac Otway Shire CEO Rob Small in May 2012.  He advised to:

• settle on a vision & pursue it, believe it will happen & fundraise to achieve it

• pursue school site on basis of community health & education

• lowest capital cost is most achievable

• running costs will have to be discussed with councillors

• Rob will attend a briefing with councillors & report back to our committee with progress

• Council will pursue funding possibilities once our committee has presented their vision

Mar. 2012 - Council Meeting

Constant campaigning, letters from OHCS & Otway Coast Committee, Chamber of Commerce and community appeals to Councillors took place over the months between Council meetings.

Following the Workshop in February, Council Officers recommended to the March Council meeting that Council:

  1. resolves that due to the capital cost & ongoing operational subsidy required from Council, the Apollo Bay Indoor Aquatic Centre is not feasible unless it is funded by grants and/or loans that Council is prepared to make a commitment to the necessary ongoing operational costs.
  2. resolves not to undertake any further investigations into the development of the Apollo Bay Aquatic Centre (ABAC) unless clear funding options are identified
  3. consider allocating additional resources in future budgets to provide greater access to recreation facilities for the Apollo Bay community.

    Cr Lyn Russell added a 4th recommendation
  4. to continue discussions about the proposed indoor pool and associated infrastructure at Apollo Bay with RDV, ABAC, DPCD, GOT & Tourism Victoria.

These 4 recommendations were passed 7:nil.  Cr Russell recommended that Apollo Bay begins fundraising, as Cobden did, to demonstrate the community commitment to the project.

Since this Council meeting, our committee has researched other lobby groups striving for the same facilities eg Mansfield and we have looked into old concept plans for the school, by Bernie Noy.

Dec. 2011 - Council Meeting & Public Briefing

The consultant presented the completed Feasibility Study to Councillors & Officers which was well received.

The Apollo Bay Aquatic Centre Committee sought Council in-principle support for an indoor aquatic centre for Apollo Bay and a commitment of approximately $50,000 for further investigation of the suggested sites identified by the Feasibility Study and proposed by the Apollo Bay Aquatic Centre committee.

These funds were to achieve – soil tests/geotechnical assessment; coastal vulnerability assessment; environmental assessment; traffic management study; some further architectural assessment of the sites and more detailed drawings; more detailed quantity surveyors estimates after the above has been completed.

This consultant presented the completed study to a Public Meeting the day after the Council Briefing.

Council Officers recommended that Council

  1. resolves that due to the capital cost & ongoing operational subsidy required from Council, the Apollo Bay Indoor Aquatic Centre is not feasible;
  2. resolves not to undertake any further investigations into the development of the Apollo Bay Aquatic Centre (ABAC).

Councillors did not vote in support of this recommendation but instead decided that it should go to a Council Workshop in February to allow proper discussion by Councillors & Officers as a group.  This motion was put by Cr Frank Buchanan and was carried 7 to nil.  Crs Chris Smith, Lyn Russell, Brian Crook & Stuart Hart spoke in favour of the motion for the workshop.  Cr Smith acknowledged the ongoing requests from Apollo Bay over 20 years and the expense of such a facility.  He felt that the Council owed it to the Apollo Bay community to exhaust every opportunity to enable it to come to fruition in the foreseeable future.  He pointed out that Council wages in the last 12 months had increased by $2.5M which would go well toward a pool.  Cr Russell indicated that a workshop will allow for discussion.  Cr Crook indicated that time had to be allowed to explore potential design, site, funding & partnership, even with the private sector.  He spoke of the political landscape changing and the project should remain live for some time.  He emphasised remote communities, water survival, support from OHCS & importance for rehab.  Cr Stuart Hart was surprised that Officers knocked this project on the head after only a few days of consideration.  He also referred to the unequal spend in Colac & surrounds as to Apollo Bay, given Apollo Bay's rate contribution is about a third of the total.  He felt it would be shortsighted to not see the tourism aspect of the heated pool as a great attraction & a worthy facility for a growing community.


The Apollo Bay Community Bank Board decided to champion a heated indoor pool for the Apollo Bay community because during creation of the bank a community poll identified that, of 31 identified needs in the community, the pool was the stand out need with 42% support.  In fact an indoor heated pool is a facility that all of the community has wanted for well over ten years.

Jane Gross, as a new director to the Bank Board agreed to pursue the feasibility of the project by first attending the February 2011 meeting of the Apollo Bay Leisure Centre and Pool Liaison committee to discuss the concept.  Following strong interest from the committee, a sub-committee was formed and met monthly, over the next couple of months looking into various options and background of work done in the past, including the content of a Feasibility Study commissioned by Council in 2001.

It was clear that the only way forward was to review the past study and develop a Business Plan to look at current figures.  Over the next few months, Jane researched possible consultants and sought funding to engage one to conduct the Feasibility Study.  By July, the Apollo Bay Community Bank had contributed $5000 to enable accessing Shire funds of $5000 under the Community Grants Scheme and Otway Health & Community Services contributed a further $5000.

It then became necessary to form an independent committee to pursue the project rather than sitting under the Leisure Centre & Pool Liaison Committee.  Representatives from the School, Council, Chamber of Commerce, Pool Committee and Otway Health were sought and the Apollo Bay Aquatic Centre (ABAC) was then formed.

Our initial committee consisted of Frank Buchanan as President (Council Rep); Linda West as Vice President (OHCS CEO); Jane Gross as Secretary (Community Bank Director); John Tallis as Treasurer (School Council President) & 5 ordinary members, namely Gary McPike (Community Bank Director/Foreshore Manager); John Riches (Chamber of Commerce rep); Ian Seuren (Sport & Recreation Manager COS); Rhiannon Cox (Leisure Centre & Pool Liaison Committee President) and Stephen Hart (Council Rep).

Ian Seuren, Frank Buchanan, Cate Thomas (Chamber of Commerce) & Jane Gross met with the managers of the Port Fairy swimming pool and toured the facility, gathering information in July 2011.

In August the Apollo Bay News-sheet, Chamber of Commerce & the Lions Club contributed $5,000, $2,000 & $1,000 respectively which, along with the funds already received from the Bank, Shire & OHCS, enabled the engagement of pool consultant, Damian Gorman of Sport & Leisure Solutions.  His brief being to complete a Feasibility Study including Business Plan by November for submission to Council before the Xmas break.

By September the Apollo Bay Aquatic Centre was incorporated with an ABN & GST registration and the consultant was well under way with the Feasibility Study.  Damian conducted meetings with relevant stakeholders such as Rob Small, Linda West (OHCS), the School, sporting clubs, foreshore management plus consulting with the community via survey and a public meeting.


Consultation Findings
  • The Aquatic Facility's importance to the community's mental & physical health;
  • That Apollo Bay children have poor motor skills;
  • That the Education Department will not provide capital & Apollo Bay College struggle with current costs;
  • Tourism funding opportunities at Harbour; demand for aqua programs for age 65+
  • The Lifesaving Club will be big users; identified demand for tourism product;
  • Learn to Swim program demand – 100 kids per week;
  • Alternative energy solutions are affordable;
  • Community places importance on environmental sustainability of the facility.
Apollo Bay Community Survey Findings

A total of 304 surveys were completed, a huge community response.  They showed that:

  • 77% indicated distance/travel time prohibits use of current facilities;
  • 71% would use a heated indoor pool for lap swimming;
  • Preferred Site – 40% school, 40% foreshore or harbour;
  • 45% would approve some rate increase for a new pool;
  • 73% believe it should be government funded.

The reasons why it is needed include - remote location–cost, time, hardship of travel to Colac; community health; ageing population; cold climate for most of the year; youth space; kids learn to swim.

Components required for a catchment population of 2800
  • 25 metre x 4 lane lap pool and 10 x 10 metre warm water program pool
  • Water play area
  • Non-core ancillary facilities – Gym, café
Sites / Components / Capital & Operational Cost

Investigations of Youth Club, Surf Club, Pony Club & Golf Club proved their unsuitability.

Recommend three sites
Apollo Bay P-12 College
Advantages Flat site, available land, community support, lowest cost to construct
Disadvantages Not highly visible, decreased revenue opportunities, community perception of ownership, funding issue
Components 25 metre x 4 lane lap pool; existing outdoor 25m 5 lane pool (23 years old); entry toddler pool; off street car parking 48 spaces
Estimated capital cost $3.5M, estimated operational cost $400,000
Gambier Street Recreation Reserve
Advantages Synergies with sports precinct, caravan park/camping & proposed cabins, highly visible.
Disadvantages Sloping block – site costs, planning issues with surrounding residential area
Components 25 metre x 4 lane lap pool; warm water program pool 100 sqm; allied health 200 sqm; lge foyer with kiosk & social space
Estimated capital cost $7M, estimated operational cost $350,000
The Harbour
Advantages Prominent, relatively flat, synergy with other water-related activities.
Possible tourism funding opportunities.
Disadvantages Site costs & corrosive environment, planning issues, car parking & existing users.
Components 25 metre x 4 lane lap pool; warm water program pool 100 sqm; gym 150 sqm; café 200 sq m;
allied health 150 sqm.
Estimated capital cost $8M, estimated operational cost $300,000


Benchmarking Process

Lakes Entrance

Catchment of 5600, Indoor 25m x 8 lane pool + learn to swim pool + gym 250sqm, capital cost $6.5mill (1996), subsidy $239,000, Funding Council $6.25mill State Govt $250,000


Catchment of 4500, Indoor 25m x 10 lane pool, program pool, toddler pool, 2 court stadium, café, capital cost $5mill (2007), subsidy $317,000, Funding Council $2.5mill State Govt $2.5mil

Evans Head

Catchment of 2600, 8 lane covered pool, gym & toddler pool, capital cost $5.3mill (2010), subsidy $210,000, Funding  Federal $3.4mill Council $1.5mill Community $400,000


Catchment of 3000, Indoor 25m x 8 lane pool, program pool, gym,2 court stadium, capital cost $3.2mill (2003), subsidy $300,000, Funding Council $2.8mill Community $400,000


Contract Management Model
Advantages Guaranteed financial performance/subsidy; wage saving; support services (eg marketing) specific to the recreation & fitness industry; proven quality management systems; lower overall cost; solves the problem of council structure having to provide management.
Disadvantages Profit motives is key objective; reduced level of control of the facility
Components 25 metre x 4 lane lap pool; warm water program pool 100 sqm; gym 150 sqm; café 200 sq m;
allied health 150 sqm.
Estimated capital cost $8 million, estimated operational cost $300,000


Funding Options
  • State Grant – Sport & Recreation Victoria – can apply up to $3 million
  • Federal Grants – Regional Development; Community Infrastructure
  • Community Fundraising
  • Colac Otway Shire



Become a Member

We're asking community members to please join our non-profit incorporated association to demonstrate their support for an indoor pool for Apollo Bay.  Forms are available to complete at our Community Bank or download one here, membership is only $2.

Drop your form and money into the collection box at the bank or post to Jane Gross, C/- Apollo Bay Community Bank, 14 Pascoe Street, Apollo Bay  VIC  3233.

Lobby our Federal & State Politicians

Council’s commitment to the ongoing operational costs of the pool is a big step.  It allows us to now lobby our Federal MPs for the capital funding to build it.  We still need $3M for its construction!

Send a letter/email to our Federal & State politicians to lobby for the $3M we need for the pool's construction.  We must keep up the pressure.  Here is a pro-forma letter or write your own (preferable).

  • Sarah Henderson

PO Box 20,  Belmont  VIC  3216
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  • Terry Mulder MP Member for Polwarth

Minister for Public Transport/ Minister for Roads
115a Bromfield Street,  Colac  VIC  3250
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Keep up to date

See the Council's full agendas & minutes.

Visit our Facebook Page and make sure you hit the 'Like' button.

Spread the Word

Tell your friends, family and work colleagues about the pool campaign.

Lend a Hand

Join the Fundraising Committee to help seek donations and to fundraise.

Ask a Committee member about other any other ways you can help.

Make a Donation or a Pledge toward the Construction of the Pool

We are aiming to raise $300,000 as the community contribution to the project to increase our chances of attracting government funding. 


For further information please contact:

Jane Gross (Secretary)   (03) 5237 6335   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Visit our Facebook Page and make sure your hit the 'Like' button.facebookfindus

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