Council Pool Tender Upset

nippers 030 (Small)On August 26, Cooloola Coast Crocs Swimming Club were informed of the tender process outcome; their coach has not been offered a pool management contract and they are not happy.

Mayor,  Cr Mick Curran advised that Council resolved:

  1.  That council not accept the tenders received
  2. That council authorises the Chief Executive Officer to finalise negotiations with the Royal Life Saving Queensland for the provision of aquatic centre management services on a fee for service basis with a further report to be submitted to council for consideration detailing the proposed management arrangements for the Kandanga public swimming pool, Tin Can Bay public swimming pool and Goomeri public swimming pool for the 2015/2016 swimming season.

 This was carried unanimously by council.

 As you may be aware this is the second round of tenders for management of the pools and no suitable tenders were determined by Council during either round.

 There will be no reduction in the pool operating hours and the opening dates for all pools will be the same as per previous seasons.

 I cannot answer what it means for the swim clubs.  It must be remembered that these pools are community facilities in the first instance, operated for the general public with the swimming clubs using the facilities as a secondary use. 

It is solely at the discretion of the individual swimming clubs who they wish to appoint as their club coaches and there is no nexus between the appointment of the pool manager/operator and the relevant swimming club coach appointments.

The Community News disagrees.

It is a council responsibility to foster physical activity and enhance opportunities for the next generation  in every town in the region.

Rurality should be taken into consideration, comparisons shouldn’t be made to larger centres where population can more easily sustain specialist services.

Historically, previous coaches in the region supplemented their coaching fees with the pool management salaries. In small rural communities, flexible arrangements to attract qualified professionals is the only option.

Cooloola Crocs’ Kevin Reibel is bitterly disappointed. “As the President of the Club, I couldn’t endorse our coach any more. We are 100% happy with his coaching. He is an Olympian and a professional, and has grown the club numbers. He has coached our swimmers into Wide Bay Championships and state finals.”

The club is also disappointed with the protracted tender process. “In January/February we were told the whole process would be finalised in June/July.  The next tender document included Tin Can Bay and/or Kandanga and/or Goomeri pools.”

Delays occurred because “no suitable candidate” was found for the three pools. It is a big ask managing three pools with huge distances between them. Perhaps that requirement is in the best interests of council and budget – but is it in the best interests of each community? What does this mean for the swim clubs at all three pools?

Kevin is adamant, “Our coach could have made it work. It’s been three months since the season has been finished, and he gets told now ‘sorry, we don’t require you’.”

Unfortunately, by now most coaches have been engaged for the season across other clubs, options are slim for employment and recruitment.

“They talk about keeping it local, once it goes to an outside tender, how can this be ensured? The money just goes outside town.”

“We have done as much as we can to keep the club afloat. We are thoroughly disheartened.”