First published with The Advocate –

Feature image: Dylan Burns

An indoor aquatic centre is on the cards for Daylesford in a bid to offer increased opportunities for healthy living in the shire.

Daylesford Community Bank has pledged $400,000 funding towards the completion of an indoor aquatic centre in Daylesford. The funding pledge followed a Community Bank survey which found an indoor pool was high priority for the community.

The Daylesford Indoor Aquatic Centre (DIAC) committee are currently undergoing consultation with the community to gauge interest in the potential facility, suggestions for a location, and the desire for specific facilities such as a gym and hydrotherapy.

COMMUNITY DRIVEN: DIAC committee chair Mark Rak says the aquatic centre will be community, rather than council driven. Picture: Dylan Burns.

Hydrotherapy facilities, which supports recovery from therapeutic treatments and injuries, will be part of the project discussions. Hydrotherapy facilities for the Daylesford community are currently limited to Hepburn Spa, or travelling 45 minutes to Wendouree or 40 minutes to Kyneton.

LaTrobe University professor of exercise science and DIAC committee member Tim Bach said the health benefits of physical activity are undisputed.

“It’s beneficial both for the prevention of disease and the management of injury and disease,” he said.

“The climate and weather are a barrier to exercise. There is less incentive to get out and be active in a cold, wintry climate. We also know that access to facilities encourages people to be active.

“To change people’s behavior we have to address these barriers.”

Screen Shot 2017-05-23 at 8.39.55 pm.png

DIAC committee chair Mark Rak said the indoor aquatic centre will be a community based and operated facility, rather than council run.

“The ongoing raising of funds is to be determined, but it will be through community pledges and government support through various grants,” he said.

“We will be seeking council support once we have a proper business plan, but we are not looking for them to be a huge financial input.”

Membership in the DIAC committee is open to members of the community. The committee is planning a series of public meetings and an election within 12 months.

The community feedback survey closes on May 10 and is available online through the DIAC website, or in hard copy at the Daylesford and District Community Bank and Springs Medical Centre.