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Hills residents are celebrating the announcement that the local community will run their iconic pool for the next eight years.

Yarra Ranges Council awarded the Olinda Community Pool Association (OCPA) a contract to run the pool from this coming summer through to 2026.

OCPA was contracted to run the pool for the past two summers and was pleased to win the tender as a further vote of confidence from a supportive council, which said it was happy with the increased community engagement.

Last summer, a record 6232 swimmers enjoyed a dip in the pool.

“We’re delighted to secure this eight-year contract after two very successful seasons,” OCPA president Duncan Brown said.

“The numbers last year were great, but we’re already looking at ways we can continue to increase pool patronage.

“Our first priority is to secure funding to improve the toddler pool.”

Since taking over running Olinda Pool, OCPA has secured more than $200,000 in fund-raising through grants from state and federal government and the Bendigo Bank.

This has enabled OCPA to improve the pool’s grounds and facilities.

Plans for the toddler pool include fun features like a splash area, fountains and spray jets, and an engaging surrounding landscape.

A connection to the already funded and yet to be implemented solar water heating will also be built.

“Making the toddler pool more fun and colourful will make Olinda Pool even more appealing to families over the coming summers,” Mr Brown said.

The announcement is particularly poignant as only years before the community was rallying to keep the pool from being shut down.

In 2016 a grassroots campaign following years of lobbying saved the Olinda Pool from being closed and was rewarded with an announcement that locals would manage the iconic site. Since then it has remained in the communities hands and after the recent announcement will continue to.

The Olinda Community Pool opens for the 2018-’19 summer season on Saturday 1 December.

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