|2 October 2017
A comprehensive external review of existing West Coast Council-owned swimming pool facilities has resulted in West Coast Council adopting a new strategy and business plan at its September Council meeting.
“The West Coast Aquatic Facilities Strategy and associated business plan provides us options for the future provision and management of our pools,” West Coast Mayor Phil Vickers said following the Council meeting.
“The documents emphasise the overall important of the facilities to our community, whilst also acknowledging that budget considerations can’t be ignored. We are pleased to accept a range of strategic directions that, with more hard work by Council and an ongoing commitment by the community to utilise the pools, will deliver improved facilities and programs into the future,” Mayor Vickers said.
The Strategy provides options regarding the short, medium and long term operations of the pools – with the accepted business plan for the upcoming season presenting a framework for operations that is forecast to not exceed the $230,000 operational budget already set for the pools in 2017-2018.
With a range of potential improvements identified in the strategy, Council remains cautious that unless the recommendations can be tested and applied successfully, the outcomes provided in the Strategy may not be met.
The Strategy points out that demand for these facilities moving forward is a key factor: “If Council finds that there is limited take up of the programs offered (for example at Rosebery and Zeehan), then this is an indication for Council that there may not be value in retaining the pools. It will be incumbent on the community to show that they will utilise the pools.” (p.35)
In adopting the recommendations Council has amended their capital expenditure budget to allow a range of necessary works to be completed. Consultants, @leisure, have also been engaged to implement the strategy and recommendations.
“This is the first time in many years that the Council has been prepared analyse and plan strategically for pool operations,” Mayor Vickers said. “With two pools operating for three months this season, and significant investment by Council in improving infrastructure at the Zeehan pool, we now have a way forward as to continue a ‘business as usual’ approach to management of the pools would not have been practical, or responsible.”
“This project has shown that the West Coast community values these facilities in terms of health and active lifestyles benefits, supporting learn to swim and school programs, local employment opportunities, and even the economic development,” the Mayor said.
Summary of West Coast Aquatic Facilities Strategy adopted actions for 2017-2018:
- Rosebery and Queenstown Swimming Pools open 1 December 2017 – 28 February 2018
- Zeehan Swimming Pool to undergo essential capital improvements, including a heating upgrade, filtration separation and sealing treatment
- A Temperature-Based Recreational Swimming Hours Policy to be implemented, with the pools only available for program use if temperature is below 18 degrees
- Implementation and testing of a variety of operational changes, including low patronage policies
- Establishment of partnerships, programing changes, administrative processes related to public notifications, changes to fee structure, marketing and other potential improvements.
- Investigation of solar power supply issues
- Purchase of some play and other equipment and lane ropes if budget permits
A full copy of the West Coast Aquatics Strategy and Business Plan is available at www.westcoast.tas.gov.au/pools