Muddy waters cloud pools
POOL committees are unsure how management changes will affect the success of pools across South Gippsland.
YMCA Victoria has won the tender to manage SPLASH and seasonal aquatic facilities at Korumburra, Poowong, Mirboo North and Foster.
South Gippsland Shire Council ratified the recommendation to award the contract to the YMCA for the next three years.
The Toora pool will remain under the direction of a council committee of management.
Council’s director of community services Jan Martin said the YMCA has managed some recreation facilities in South Gippsland over the last 14 years.
“The YMCA is familiar with the facilities the council has appointed them to manage and they are also well aware the council values community involvement in maximising use of our aquatic facilities,” she said.
“We are confident the new contract, which includes services across most of this shire, will lead to a closer collaboration with our communities.”
Mary Baker, secretary of the Mirboo North Swimming Pool committee of management, said this would be the first time YMCA has managed the pool.
“Unified Community Sports and Leisure had managed the pool for around 15 years,” she said.
“We haven’t met with the YMCA yet, so we are not sure what changes will be made to how the pool is run.”
Ms Baker said she is keen to hear whether or not community programs such as lap swimming, Mirboo North Idol and school sports would be affected.
“The previous managers were very flexible with the community’s needs,” she said.
One aspect of the new contract that is of concern to the committee of management is the temperature required before the pool will be opened.
“The pool used to open when the forecast temperature for the Latrobe Valley was 22 degrees or higher,” Ms Baker said.
“Now the pool won’t be opened unless the forecast temperature in Leongatha is 26 degrees or higher.
“We used to extend the hours of the pool if the day was 28 degrees or hotter, and now it won’t open unless it is 26 degrees.”
Ms Baker said the pool was likely to suffer under this change.
“Now on those beautiful 25 degree days when the pool would normally be a social hub, it won’t even be open,” she said.
“It is going to impact significantly on the pool and will be reflected in our numbers.”
Ian Lyon, a member of the Foster Swimming Pool committee, said the YMCA ran the Foster pool for the last three summers.
“The community and the Section 86 committee would have much preferred to have the committee resume management as in previous years, or that the operators of the Toora Pool be given an opportunity,” he said.
“However the council has made its decision and we can just hope with the reduced opening hours of the pool over summer the service provided to the community will be satisfactory.”
Mr Lyon said traditional early morning lap swimming may be in doubt if the requirements placed on volunteers are impractical.
“We also hope the overall numbers will not be too negatively impacted by the reduction opening hours,” he said.
The new contract comes into effect on September 1.
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