Controversial pool tenders to save ratepayers money
AFTER a backlash across social media this week questioning the decision to hand over the management of three public pools to an out-of-town contractor, Coffs Harbour City Council has revealed the cost savings behind the successful tender.
The new lease arrangements with Newcastle company Lane 4 Aquatics to run the Coffs Harbour War Memorial Pool and the Sawtell and Woolgoolga town pools will provide a comparative saving of more than $4million, the council said today in a statement.
It was announced this week that, following an open tender process, the leases of the Coffs Harbour War Memorial Swimming Pool, Woolgoolga Swimming Pool and Sawtell Swimming Pool had been awarded to the company.
The tender was awarded by Council's General Manager Steve McGrath under delegated authority, a process that does not require it to go to the council meeting for decision.
"Legally, we can't disclose the detail of the tenders as that's commercially sensitive, but I can assure the community that very careful consideration was given to all the tenders Council received," said Mick Raby, Council's Acting General Manager.
"In terms of criteria such as the quality of the services, future plans, proven ability to work with the community and user groups and the aquatic programmes that all the tenderers offered, there was very little difference between them.
"However, the difference in price between the tenders was significant -giving ratepayers a saving in excess of $4-million when compared to the next best-performing tender."
The statement comes after the serving managers of the three pools expressed their dismay at the council's decision.
"We completely understand that the current operators of the pools - the Hunt Family, Kerri Ann McLaughlin, Mark McLaughlin and Daniel Leaver - are very disappointed that they were not successful and we can understand their distress," Mr Raby said.
"However, in considering tenders, we have to be independent, objective and impartial so that the process is fair to all parties - and especially to the ratepayers of the Coffs Harbour local government area.
"It's also important that to note that Council has been assured by Lane 4 Aquatics that all current pool employees will have the opportunity to apply for positions within the new operations.
The council said it will work with Lane 4 Aquatics, which currently manages a host of swimming pools across New South Wales and Queensland, to ensure that the transition for pool-users is seamless.
The tender gave potential lessees the option of operating one pool or more and Lane 4 Pty Ltd from Lambton, trading as Lane 4 Aquatics, put forward a successful proposal to run all three.
Now that some of the financial reasoning behind the move has been revealed let us know your thoughts in a comment below or on our Facebook post?