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Where are the numbers for the new pool


Dear Beagle Editor, It is interesting to read between the lines of your report of yesterday's Aquatic Centre meeting and release of the concept plans as the mayor apparently refers to them. So the proposal is a 25 m pool with hydrotherapy and an adventure area with splash deck and waterslide. Great for the oldies and great for the littlies but what about the in-betweenies? I was very surprised to read that the swimming competency rates for kids now is so low. Here we, a country surrounded by water and our kids aren't learning how to swim. On top of that we have an ever increasing migrant intake and it turns out most of them can't swim either and therefore they wouldn't necessarily think to encourage their own kids to swim. In Canberra the Learn to Swim campaign and school participation is much higher but then we have the heated pools. Readers might like to see the Canberra pool charges HERE From Council's Fees and Charges I learn that it costs quite a lot to attend a swimming pool. Casual Entry Casual Entry general swimming $5.00 per student for school student/holder Pension Concession Card or Commonwealth Seniors Health Card $3.80 Family Entry (4 family members) $17.00 2 Adults + and two children under 16 years old Children under 4 yrs FREE. 20 Visit multi-pass $90.00 20 Visit multi-pass (Child) $70.00 Swimming lane hire fee $36.00 Fee applies for whole or part lane - hire per hour. Season Pass Family - Six months $400.00 Single- Six months $220.00 Interpolating the above with the numbers quoted in the article the projected return that is "going north" to Ulladulla is 50 kids @ $400 a year under a family pass so that parents might have a swim as well while they wait. I do wonder if the councillors have reviewed just how many people go through the Batemans Bay turnstiles, what the sum revenue is and what the net LOSS is after running costs are taken out. If I was a coach at Batemans Bay pool (that is open for only six months a year) and required to pay $700 or more for Public Liability insurance and then maintain accreditation and membership under the Australian Swim Coaches Association my minimum overhead per season would be $1000 - faced with a lane hire and an expectation of an income of $22.50 per hour ( A Swimming Instructor earns an average wage of AU$22.61 per hour) I would expect to have a squad in one lane of ten that would cost $59 PLUS my own $9 per day (if three sessions per week) in other overheads. All up around $6.80 per child per hour. As classes are half an hour I would still be required to pay a full hours lane hire. In The ACT trainers are generally employed by the pool on an hourly rate and the facility covers insurances and most overheads. More than likely the Council have done all their sums and done their numbers on how many will go through the stiles for adventure, for hydrotherapy (There is a very under-utilised private hydro therapy pool at Moruya that my mother in law used - by building one in Batemans Bay doesn't mean that numbers will increase with any guarantee). If your local schools are directed to Narooma for their carnivals as the article says and the 25m pool is of no use to swim coaches and if there is the difficulty of securing swimming coaches as Council staff advised then how will that be turned around. If the Department of Education subsidised swimming program can't do it then is it the role of Council to find teachers and run classes or do they rely on their pool managers who have a track record of not being able to improve visits through the turnstiles. Council needs to come clean with visitation numbers over the last decade to each of the pools to justify this apparent very expensive need. I imagine the Aquatic Centre people don't want to do laps. They just want to bob up and down in warm water and exercise. So how much is a dunking pool and exactly how many bobbers are there and how much do they expect to pay for admission? At $3.80 per visit, once a week the maximum Council might get back from 50 bobbers per year is less that $10,000. Hopefully 50 bobbers is enough of a client base for a local trainer to run a profitable business. Hang on, didn't they say it was going to cost $300,000 a year to maintain. So my question is where are all the people and where is the demand that calls for all these pools if interest in swimming in waning. If a private hydrotherapy pool can't find the clientele then how does the Council propose on finding the required clientele to make their pool economically viable. And NOT just for summer holiday demands. The pool has to work all year round and not just be there for tourists. The concept plan is nice but the community MUST see the numbers as well. Where are the spreadsheets? Will those figures that have obviusly been used to establish a business plan be revealed or are they also 'commercial in confidence' like everything else this Council touches. And what about the Bay Soldiers Club and the Catalina Country Club and the Bay Players Theatre. They are all performance spaces that hold performances that employ staff. This week Pete Murray will be there - $50 per ticket. What impact will a performance space have on those venues? What will be staged in this new performance centre and how much will it cost to hire the venue. Will it be run by an organisation. What is their intention with the space. Dance, theatre, bands, a bar? You only have to look north to the Milton Theatre as an example of a community run space that is well organised, well attended and also affordable to those music promoters who want to hire it. Is Council going to now get involved in being the next Paul Dainty and have staff employed to maximise the utilisation of the new performing space. Let's hope not. Again we are assured that the consultants have done all the sums so we need to see them. I live in Canberra but have a holiday house at Maloneys Beach so my interest is as a ratepayer and not a venue user. I wish the groups well as I have met the swimming pool people and they are passionate but as a rate payer now paying very high rates I do not want to have to pay more for an ill conceived project. Name and address supplied


#Opinion #latest

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