Councillor requests pool progress report
TWELVE months into the city pool's new lease, councillor Paul Amos has asked for an update on the arrangement.
He raised a question on notice at the July 12 Coffs Harbour City Council meeting, seeking information on the level of pool maintenance and improvements including leak repairs and asking about coffee shop and gymnasium extensions.
He was advised that a recent inspection of the Coffs Harbour pool by council's mechanical and electrical staff found the pool in better working order than it was during the initial inspection in the first week of July 2017.
The Sawtell and Woolgoolga pools will be inspected later this month as they are currently closed for winter.
There was confusion and outrage when it was announced the management of the Coffs Harbour, Sawtell and Woolgoolga pools would be handed over to an out-of-town contractor.
Hundreds of people with placards protested against the decision but council claimed it was a win for the community and that the new arrangement would provide a saving of more than $4 million.
Potential lessees were offered the option of operating one pool or more and Lane 4 Pty Ltd from Lambton NSW, trading as Lane 4 Aquatics put forward a successful proposal to run all three.
In relation to the cafe, Cr Amos was informed that as part of the original business plan submitted with the Lane 4 tender, it was indicated the café fitout would occur within four to six months of the commencement of the lease and this was carried out within the first month of operation.
Lane 4 Regional Aquatics Manager for the Coffs Coast Richard Leslie has clarified this saying a 'kiosk upgrade' has taken place.
No hot food is served at the kiosk but management is considering introducing this in the coming summer season.
In relation to the gym extensions Mr Leslie has confirmed the business plan for the coming season is currently being developed and includes an upgrade of the existing gym with new equipment and a "possible expansion".
"At the end of August we will have a conference to go through the business plan for the coming season to confirm what will be done and the timeframes for all three pools."
After a period of public consultation earlier this year council is currently developing a strategy on the future of the Sawtell and Woolgoolga Swimming Pools.
The complexes were commissioned around 1979-1981, making them approximately 37 years old.
The council's general manager Steve McGrath has stressed that the aim of the strategy is to make sure council: "provides better pool facilities that are in line with what people want in those localities. There are no plans to cut the number of local swimming pools."
Cr Amos was also keen to learn if there had been much negative feedback from the community about the new arrangement and he was informed that council has 'not had any negative feedback during the past 12 months with regards to the level of service having decreased since the start of the new lease'.
A third element to Cr Amos' question was about pricing and he was told council hadn't received a request to increase pool pricing.
Mr Leslie has provided further detail on the matter, saying that general admission prices have not risen from last season.
"In fact we now offer two cheaper options: that being our additional child rate for $3.00 and our new senior rate at $3.50 previously charged at $4.50," Mr Leslie said.
"Our multi visit passes have also remained the same price, the only difference being we now offer a 30-visit option which reduces the admission cost further.
"Our annual memberships have all been reduced and swimming lessons have gone from $160.00 to $135.00 per term. Additionally, we also offer our schools within the community a bulk entry rate of $3.50 as opposed to the previous $4.50.
"Our adult squad casual rate has remained the same however, we do recognise that our adult squad multi visit passes have increased by a modest $1.00 per session."