By Jamie Salter
Garfield resident Kelly Fitzgerald is joining the push to redevelop Cardinia Life after use of the facility helped her recover from a cycle accident in December 2021 that left her in a six day coma with 20 broken bones.
The redevelopment of Cardinia Life has been set as a council priority ahead of the upcoming May election.
Kelly said the support and encouragement from staff at the facility was an integral part of her recovery.
“Coming here saved my life and my sanity,“ she said.
“It’s a place to come for rehab where you get addressed by name and the atmosphere is amazing.“
Kelly visits Cardinia Life’s indoor aquatic facility everyday.
She said although the centre has been essential in regaining her strength, there were not enough pool lanes for everybody to enjoy freely.
“If there was more room people could take their time a bit too because sometimes you feel like you’re in the way and it’s harder to come after work because kids are here after school,“ Kelly said.
“There’s also not many classes for people who can’t swim.“
At more than 16 years old, Cardinia Life has reached capacity.
So far more than 395 people have had their say on the need to redevelop Cardinia Life, which is attended by more than 750,000 people every year.
Independent advisory body Infrastructure Victoria has called on the Victorian Government to allocate $20,000 to Cardinia council to plan aquatic centres.
A Cardinia Shire Council spokesperson said this coincided with council’s own advocacy for aquatic funding.
“Cardinia Shire’s population growth has put our only indoor aquatic facility Cardinia Life beyond capacity and therefore it’s no longer able to meet the needs of our community,“ the spokesperson said.
“Aquatic centres improve physical and mental health and wellbeing, and help build strong social networks within the community.
“Broadly the economic, health and social benefits from community sport such as swimming, basketball, netball which are conducted within Cardinia Life and active recreation are substantial.
“Across the state, the value of those benefits is estimated at over $7 billion.“