Extension of pool contracts


I can’t believe that Council has agreed to negotiate the short term extension of existing swimming pool contracts so that the contract dates align for 2022. This is an obvious and blatant attempt by council to once again pave the way for their “all swimming pools under one contract – i.e. let’s shaft the local operators for a big management group’ agenda. Again.

It’s been less than three years when the idea was last put up by council and vigorously campaigned against be the local communities in the Clarence Valley. The people of the Clarence Valley have twice already had to take this issue to Councillors and on both occasions Councillors agreed, local operators for local facilities. And yet, by pushing this agenda again Council once again demonstrate a that they are not interested in the views of the people.

We have fantastic pool operators in Richard and Yvette at the Yamba COMMUNITY pool. The statistics council themselves provided last time showed that they were performing above industry standards. If council are in a position to extend contracts, why don’t they extend them for 5 years, rather than 9 months? Why do we always have to fight to keep these well respected, extremely competent and high performing operators where they belong just because someone in Council wants all the pools to be managed by one operator?

I’m sure that Council will trot out the same sad reasons they did last time, about ease of contract management and consistency of services. Surely these aims can be achieved without shafting local operators for a management group. Simply negotiate the changes needed and extend their contract to a longer term and keep pools on individual contracts rather than one contract.

I recently had to go to a number of different pools on the North Coast run by management groups for school swimming carnivals. At one pool I was charged $4.50 to enter as a spectator and at another $5.20! I didn’t even enter the water. This is the reality of management group run facilities. High entry cost by individuals to cover the lower tender price and then the profit is removed from the community to whatever community the Management is based.

So it is not just our local pool operators that Council is shafting with this ‘all pools under one contract’ agenda; it’s also the local users of the facilities (which in the case of Yamba, actually raised the money for and built the pool) and the local economy.  We have great operators and council by its own admission can extend their contract. So why not do the right thing by everyone and extend their contract for a longer term? Surely we can put an end to this nonsense once and for all. Local operators for local facilities.

Narelle O’Connell, Mororo