Coffs Harbour public pool.
Coffs Harbour public pool.

Pool management to be handed over

COFFS Harbour City Council will take over the management of local pools from Lane 4.

Group Leader Financial Services and Logistics Mark Griffioen said Council will take over management of the pools from mid-October.

"We have been discussing this matter with Lane 4 and have come to an arrangement that is in the best possible interests of all involved."

The matter was up for consideration at the last Coffs Harbour City Council meeting where a confidential report outlining a proposed draft agreement between the parties was considered.

Council had already been approached by Lane 4 Pty Ltd in April this year requesting financial assistance to meet its operational and management obligations.

The request was in the order of $300,000 per annum above the agreed price to continue to meet their obligations to operate and manage the public swimming pools in Coffs Harbour, Sawtell and Woolgoolga.

The request was denied and the decision communicated in writing to Lane 4 but their response, according to Council's recent agenda was: 'Somewhat ambiguous as to the intentions of Lane 4 Pty Ltd. Since then Council, through legal representation, has been seeking clear confirmation from Lane 4 Pty Ltd of its intentions, with Council making clear its expectation that Lane 4 Pty Ltd will continue to operate the facilities in line with the subleases.

It was also revealed that since Council declined the original request for financial assistance, Lane 4 requested additional assistance, over and above what they had previously requested, due to the impact of COVID-19.

Protests against Lane 4’s takeover of pool management back in 2017.
Protests against Lane 4’s takeover of pool management back in 2017.

Todd McHardy CEO of Lane 4 said like many Australian businesses, particularly in the recreation industry, the business has suffered greatly with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"While COVID-19 safe plans have ensured swimming pools are now a great place to visit, the federal and state government restrictions caused a significant shut down period and loss of revenue, membership and swim school enrolment," Mr McHardy said.

"Coffs Harbour City Council have agreed to release Lane 4 from this lease due to the extreme financial pressure COVID-19 has created.

"We will continue to operate the Coffs Harbour War Memorial Olympic Swimming Pool and open the Sawtell and Woolgoolga Pools in readiness for summer, then co-ordinate a professional transition of management in mid-October.

"As a company we enjoyed the challenge this lease presented and felt welcomed by the Coffs community and Council. We wish all residents well with their future swimming and thank the amazing Lane 4 local staff for their hard work during some challenging times. "

Staff will be eligible to seek employment with Council at the appropriate time subject to operational needs.

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