NEW MANAGEMENT: Lane 4 was awarded the tender to manage the Coffs Harbour, Sawtell and Woolgoolga swimming pools.
NEW MANAGEMENT: Lane 4 was awarded the tender to manage the Coffs Harbour, Sawtell and Woolgoolga swimming pools. Keagan Elder

Pool operators out in cold as new company takes over

UPDATE: AFTER decades committed to the community, public pool staff are concerned after a council tender was awarded to an out-of-town business, Lane 4 Aquatics, to manage the Coffs Harbour, Woolgoolga and Sawtell pools.

Current manager of the Woolgoolga Swimming Pool, Scott Hunt felt gutted by the decision.  

"It's soul-destroying," he said. "Everything we've done over the last 31 years has just gone down the drain."  

Mr Hunt said he had borrowed hundreds of thousands of dollars to expand, upgrade and maintain facilities -including a 30metre slide, indoor learn to swim pool and pool heating.  

He said the Coffs Harbour City Council decision was made with no consultation.  

"It's quite unbelievable they can come to this," he said.

"I'm gutted, totally disappointed."  

Swimplex Aquatics director Daniel Leaver, who manages the Coffs Harbour War Memorial Pool said he was "flabbergasted" over the lack of discussion concerning a decision, which could determine the next 20 years of the pool's future.  

Another Swimplex Aquatics director, Mark McLaughlin, said the company wanted a fair inquiry into the executive decision.     

In a statement released by the council, Coffs Harbour City Council's director business services Andrew Beswick said all submissions were assessed and "it was apparent there were extensive cost and service efficiency benefits" for the council if all pools were run by one operator.  

"While it would be ideal to see a local company chosen as the operator, the other tenders presented did not represent the most economic or efficient outcome," he said.  

The lease periods offered for each site are:   Coffs Harbour War Memorial Swimming Pool: 10 years with the option to extend for a further 10 years. 

Sawtell Swimming Pool: Five years with the option to extend for a further five years. 

Woolgoolga Swimming Pool: Five years with the option to extend for a further five years. 

The new leases are set to begin on July 1.   

 

WEDNESDAY: AN ANNOUNCEMENT the Coffs Harbour War Memorial Swimming Pool and the Woolgoolga and and Sawtell pools will be taken over by one company has led to a large public outcry.

Hundreds of comments on Facebook were generated after the current leaseholders of the pools announced they would be stepping away after Coffs Harbour City Council decided Lane 4 Pty Ltd put forward a successful proposal to run all three pools.

Lane 4 is an out of company which operates pools in Lambton, Mayfield, Stockton and Wallsend in NSW. It also operates pools in Queensland, including in Gladstone, Gracemere, Mount Larcom, Mount Morgan, Proserpine and South Rockhampton.

Each of the pools were previously run by separate operators.

In a statement released by the council, Coffs Harbour City Council's Director Business Services Andrew Beswick said all submissions were assessed and "it was apparent there were extensive cost and service efficiency benefits" for the council and community if all pools were run by one operator.

"While it would be ideal to see a local company chosen as the operator, the other tenders presented did not represent the most economic or efficient outcome," Mr Beswick said.

"Aquatic programs and infrastructure investment in the facilities by the tenderers was also considered as part of the evaluation of the proposed business plans, as well as their ability to work with community and user groups.

"We have also been assured that Lane 4 Aquatics intends to offer all current pool employees the opportunity to apply for positions within the new operations."

The lease periods offered for each site are:

  • Coffs Harbour War Memorial Swimming Pool: 10 years with the option to extend for a further 10 years.
  • Sawtell Swimming Pool: Five years with the option to extend for a further five years.
  • Woolgoolga Swimming Pool: Five years with the option to extend for a further five years.

The new leases begin on July 1.

A video from the Lane 4 Aquatics site explained its business model was based to cater for the aquatic centre industry and benefit not only stakeholders but the community too. 



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