COMMUNITY OUTCRY: We deserve a pool like Gympie’s
GOOMERI residents have been left to stew in the heat after the town's pool was shut due to backwash and filtration problems earlier this month, and now one woman is saying "enough is enough".
Toni Jeavons moved to the 600-person town of Goomeri early last year for a quiet country lifestyle.
She believes it's high time the Gympie Regional Council put more money into the town and gave the community a place for residents to enjoy.
"For a number of years, the Goomeri public swimming pool has been neglected and ignored by the Gympie Regional Council," Ms Jeavons said.
"When the pool's pump system failed to work, the council neglected to rectify the problem to new, safe and working standards.
"Since then the pump system has stopped working several times and the town has had to endure regular pool closures, and the people of Goomeri are still patiently waiting for the council to provide new, safe, working standards."
The former water aerobics instructor is no stranger to generating people-powered results - she played a major role in getting the Roma wading pool back up and running in 2013.
After organising a town march and a petition, Ms Jeavons received a call from the Maranoa Regional Council to inform her they had secured $400,000 to build a brand new water play park.
It's an outcome Ms Jeavons is hoping she can replicate in Goomeri.
The Goomeri pool has been closed for repairs since January 8, and the possibility of it being in operation before the end of summer is looking unlikely.
A Gympie Regional Council spokesman said the council had engaged a consultant to assess the level of works required to rectify the issues with the backwash and filtration system.
"Once the findings have been presented by the consultant, council will have a clearer indication of the exact cost and time frame required to rectify them," he said.
"Council will then be engaging with the Goomeri community to understand what their requirements are for the facility.
"Although the findings have not been finalised by the consultant, council has been advised that significant work will be required to rectify the backwash and filtration system issues, ensuring the water quality is safe for swimming.
"Council regrettably wishes to advise that it is highly unlikely the Goomeri pool will be reopened until the beginning of the new swimming season in September 2020."
Temporary alternate measures have been made by Gympie Regional Council which is providing a free bus service to the Kilkivan town pool in the meantime while it looks into repairs, but Ms Jeavons said this simply didn't cut the mustard.
Not afraid to ruffle some feathers, she said residents were disappointed by Gympie Regional Council's lack of action.
"The people of Goomeri have finally had enough - we will not be neglected and treated as second-hand citizens in the Gympie region any longer," she said.
"The Goomeri Pool is the only public facility in the town where people can go to socialise, have fun and cool off in the summer heat.
"The pool also promotes community friendships, happiness, health and wellbeing, and families enjoy the swimming and club nights as well as the water aerobics.
"The Gympie Regional Council website states approximately $189 million dollars was allocated towards building and construction in the region."
Ms Jeavons claims Goomeri has received very little of that funding, while the town of Gympie received a $22.2 million state-of-the art aquatic centre, unveiled in 2017.
"The Gympie Regional Council is looking a lot like the Gympie Town Council for obvious and valid reasons," she said.
"We the people of Goomeri are voting ratepayers - where is Goomeri's pool safety, facility maintenance, excellent utility services, health and wellbeing for the townspeople?
"This is a huge negligence of resources and inequality compared to Gympie, but regardless we are still charged with equal rates which is a huge injustice, pure neglect and complete insult to the community people of Goomeri.
"All we're asking for is one amazing community facility - a recreational water play park with a little cafe, a functioning outdoor swimming pool, a water play area for the kids and a much-needed local gym.
"Only then will our equal rates feel justified and our disappointment with current council diminish."
Ms Jeavons has decided to make her voice heard by launching a petition for the people of Goomeri to sign on Tuesday, January 28 and is also planning to hold a town march for Goomeri as well as a friendly community protest out the front of the Gympie Regional Council offices in Gympie.