Swimming and Aquatic Activities

Swimming and aquatic activities have been an important cultural activity in the Drysdale / Clifton Springs area for centuries.

Indigenous people inhabitated the area up to 30,000 years ago and you may find traces of shell along this part of the coast, enjoying the permanent water supply in Drysdale

The Dell was the former entrance to a popular mineral springs and spa resort which operated between the early 1870s -1920s and gave Clifton Springs its name. The interpretive signs take visitors on a journey through the history of the spa bath house, Clifton Springs Hotel and bottling of mineral water.

Clifton Springs and Drysdale have long been a day destination for people from surrounding districts to come and swim in the quiet ocean waters near the Dell and sample the spring waters near the beautiful picnic areas. The area is still frequented by many locals and visitors alike to enjoy the ocean for swimming and boating.

The Clifton Springs section of coast is characterised by near continuous bluffs averaging 20 m high, and is fronted by a beach and wide sand flats. It is the most popular of the northern Bellarine Peninsula beaches. It is located below 20 m high bluffs and is backed by an extensive foreshore reserve, with ample parking and picnic facilities. There are the ruins of the 400 m long jetty and there are the ruins of 2 smaller jetties nearby. While all of this beach is backed by a foreshore reserve, access is limited to the golf course or Beacon Point Road and bluff-top of the Dell. It has no pool facilities.

In the 1950’s a pool was built as part of the Clifton Springs development and this was enjoyed by residents and community members from the greater Bellarine area.
Clifton Springs community pool (the only one in the area) was closed in July 2002 due to an irreparable leakage possibly causing further landslips nearby.
Petition to COGG from residents for a 50 metre indoor pool complex on the site at the Potato Shed Drysdale. Councillor Tom O’Connor stated he would build a 25 metre privatised pool.
Community members, over the decades have been consistent in their request for aquatic facilities leading to the Bellarine Strategic Plan 2006 – 2016 stated to increase the Aquatic facilities in Drysdale/Clifton Springs and other local communities.
The SpringDale Community summit in 2012 recognised the need for a warm water exercise pool in Drysdale.
Portarlington pool closed in October 2017
Public meeting with Sarah Henderson MP to discuss a new pool for the Bellarine, hundreds of people had signed a petition for Ms Henderson showing enormous community support
Reference Bellarine Times article page 11- 7 February 2019

Sarah Henderson committed $10 million of Federal government money to build a pool in Northern Bellarine site to be determined. The pool would be an outdoor facility 50 metres in size and a membrane roof, change rooms and a kiosk Sarah Henderson MP states that the Labour Government needed to commit funding towards Stage 2 of the facility which would create a neighbouring indoor pool and ancillary facilities
Reference Bellarine Times article page 1 and 11- 18 April 2019

DCSCA conducting a Candidates forum in April and candidates for Corangamite will be invited to speak and answer questions raised about the need for pool in North Bellarine
Libby Coker MP also meets with the community of the Northern Bellarine to outline a proposal for a 50 metre outdoor pool Stage 1 with and commits to $10 million from Federal Government
Letter from Lisa Neville Minister for Police and Water to Hon Michael McCormack in Canberra asking for commitment of $10 million and in fast tracking the construction of a 50 metre outdoor pool on the North Bellarine.
Reference official letter from Lisa Neville 4 December 2019

Northern Bellarine Aquatic Centre Advocacy Group was established in November 2019 following a public forum held in Drysdale with MP Libby Coker surrounding the need for an indoor pool to service the community needs of all abilities, swimming lessons, exercise classes and swimmers. We are a committed, pro-active group made up of community minded people from all walks of life passionate about an aquatic centre for Drysdale.
March- Scoping study conducted by COGG into aquatic needs.
Site for Northern Bellarine Aquatic Centre announced by COGG in Drysdale with 2 options.
1 Peninsula Drive Drysdale
2 Old Bellarine Shire Depot in High Street
COGG has allocated and committed $750.000 for design alongside $10 million from the Federal Government
Reference Bellarine Times article page 1- 13 August 2020

Stephanie Asher Geelong Mayor said that the northern Bellarine side is completely under serviced.
Reference Geelong Advertiser article Page 5- 19 Feb 2020

COGG accepted recommendation to place the Northern Bellarine Aquatic Centre in Peninsula Drive Drysdale adjacent to the schools of St Ignatius Secondary College, Northern Bellarine College and St Thomas’ Primary School.
Mantric Architects meet with NBACAG along with Ian Hick and Jim Corbett from COGG showing plans for NBAC that are to be presented for approval for Stage 1 to Council Meeting
Libby Coker MP holds a Public Forum discussing the need for a full aquatic facility.
NBACAG writes a Position Paper which is sent to all levels of Government

April 2021 COGG meeting accepts the concept plans from Mantric Architects and agrees to an outdoor 50 metre heated pool with a further 5.15 million to be added to the $10million from the Federal Government. Referral that additional funds will need to be sought to enable the construction of a fully enclosed aquatic centre as Stage 2 over the next 10-15 years.

November 2021 Meeting held at SpringDale with NBACAG member and Stephanie Asher Mayor, Trent Sullivan Deputy Mayor and Ian Hicks CoGG Capital Works to discuss the Stage 2 draft of a plan and advising that community engagement was about to begin.

December 2021 COGG has released a Have Your Say page on their website, on the progress of NBAC pool and Stages 1 and 2 with updates regularly available. Responses closed 04.01.22 no further reports available yet.
NBACAG has submitted a response to the survey on this page as a group following many discussions on the community needs

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