POOL use has plunged dramatically in the Hepburn Shire, with patronage down by close to 10,000.
The latest results published in Hepburn Shire Council’s performance statement showed attendance at the shire’s three pools had dived from 15,734 in the 2013-14 financial year to 6213 in the 2014-15 financial year.
Director of community services Kathleen Brannigan urged community members to support the pools.
She said some of the facilities were in need of upgrades – which were being planned.
Daylesford pool had the largest drop. Just over 4873 people visited from 2010-11; 9367 from 2012-13; 9680 in 2013-14 and 3252 in 2014-15.
Clunes pool had 1458 visitors in the 2010-11 season; 4631 in 2012-13; 3311 in 2013-14 and 1696 in 2014-15.
Trentham pool had 1566 visitors in 2010-11; 3080 in 2012-13; 2743 in 2013-14 and 992 in 2014-15.
There were no pool closures or changes to opening hours during this period. All pools opened in the first week of December until the Labor Day weekend in March.
“We have a hot or cold weather policy, where if it’s hot they open later,” Ms Brannigan said.
Statistics from the Bureau of Meteorology, recorded at Ballarat, showed this summer to be slightly cooler than the previous year.
The mean January temperature was 24.9 degrees, compared to 28.2 degrees in 2014.
In February temperatures increased to a mean of 27 degrees, compared to 28 the year prior.
March recorded a relatively cool 21.6 degree average compared to 23.9 the year before.
December was slightly hotter at 24 degrees compared to 23 the year previously.
Swimming pool advocate Cate Graceson said it was imperative the community continued to support facilities like the pool.
“The (Daylesford) pool is a community-built asset that was built in 1969 by the community,” Ms Graceson said.
“All children walked to Newlyn for a cent to raise money and there were more lamington drives than ever before.”
Ms Graceson said the pool was a great community outlet and also employed many teenagers as lifeguards and taught them important skills.
“People need to support the pool and help develop a campaign,” Ms Graceson said.