BREAKING NEWS: Coffs Council Take Back Swimming Pool Management
Lease Rumours Confirmed
While rumours had been circulating for months, Coffs Harbour City Council have today confirmed that they will take back management of the local public swimming pools.
In a statement released by Council they will work with Lane 4 to transition pool management arrangements to Council.
Group Leader Financial Services and Logistics Mark Griffioen said a decision has been made by Coffs Harbour City Council to take over the management of the pools from Lane 4.
“Council has decided to take over management of the pools from mid-October to ensure this vital recreational service continues to be provided to the community and visitors. 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.”
On July 1, Triple M asked Coffs Harbour City Council whether rumours were true that Lane 4 would no longer hold the lease for the swimming pools, the following day, the media confirmed to Triple M that it was not the case, saying that “works are ongoing on the indoor pool to have it filled and heated and we’re working with Lane 4 on a completion date for the reopening”.
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.
“Whilst 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.
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 coordinate a professional transition of management in mid-October” Mr Hardy said.
“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.”
Many locals were angered over the arrangements when Lane 4 Aquatics took on the leases of the three swimming pools back in May 2017, with some councillors also blindsided when they heard of the arrangements for the first time on Triple M. Questions were then raised from Councillors about the extent of the use of delegated authority by the General Manager for future decisions.
At the time, Cr Tegan Swan took to social media saying, “I encourage everyone to email and call council and let them know how you feel.”
“I'm so disappointed that we as Councillors were kept in the dark as well. I'm all for honesty and transparency especially if hard decisions are required.”
The lease periods offered for each site were:
- Coffs Harbour War Memorial Swimming Pool: Ten years with the option to extend for a further ten 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 began on July 1 2017.