COVID-19 closes some council centres

By Daneka Hill

WHEN news broke that all non-essential services were to close and go home, residents had to start asking themselves what was essential and what wasn’t.

As the City of Greater Bendigo starts making changes, they’ve announced some public pool memberships will be refunded and access to Bendigo Animal Relief Centre (BARC) will be strictly by appointment.

Pets can still be adopted and lost pets can be claimed, but residents must phone ahead to arrange a time to meet.

All adoption fees and lost pet infringements can only be paid over the phone. Cash will not be accepted at this time and arrangements will be put in place to limit contact between staff and members of the public when coming to adopt or reclaim a pet.

Residents that want to surrender a pet, are asked to please hold off from doing so unless it is an emergency and consider asking a friend or family member to help them until operations return to normal. If they must surrender a pet, they must contact BARC to make arrangements.

The City of Greater Bendigo has closed their four swimming pools and the Long Gully Splash Park, and will keep them closed until April 13, but it is expected the date will be extended.

Faith Leech Aquatic Centre and the Long Gully Splash Park will now not reopen until next season.

Gurri Wanyarra Wellbeing Centre, Peter Krenz Leisure Centre and Bendigo East pool will be in touch with members to suspend memberships.

Faith Leech Aquatic Centre memberships will be suspended, with the remaining seven weeks of the season to be discounted from next season’s ticket price.

Each aquatic facility will contact members individually. Members should not call the City of Greater Bendigo directly.

Bendigo Stadium is now closed to all, and the bistro and gaming room were closed entirely on Monday at midday.

Bendigo council is also advising parents to think before taking their children out to playgrounds.

Council is not able to thoroughly deep clean these facilities and it can be a challenge for children to adhere to the recommended social distancing guidelines while playing.

If parents insist on taking their children to a playground, they should also take hand sanitiser with them or soap and drink bottles for washing hands.

Mitchell Shire

Mitchell Shire had already closed libraries, youth rooms, Information Centres and Leisure Centres before the rough new measures announced over Sunday and Monday.

After the Victorian Premier’s announcements, Mitchell Shire has also closed their kindergartens.

Essential waste services including wheelie-bin collections will still take place to the regular schedule.

Critical material, child health and immunisation services are still being provided.

Shire is also in the process of reviewing their public health, animal management, roads and open space management policies.

Mitchell Shire stressed the shut down of non-essential services was not a shut down of council operations.

“We will continue to provide our other services online and via the phone where possible,” a spokesperson said.

In line with advice provided by the Premier on Monday, during these school holidays students are to stay home.