UNCERTAIN: Michael and Gail Smail have leased Stanthorpe Pool for the past 14 years.
UNCERTAIN: Michael and Gail Smail have leased Stanthorpe Pool for the past 14 years. Ella Archibald-Binge

Wave of support sinks pool plan

AFTER weeks of uncertainty and a wave of public support, Michael and Gail Smail appear likely to retain the lease to the Stanthorpe Pool.

The controversial matter was taken behind closed doors at last Wednesday's Southern Downs Regional Council meeting - where all of the tender applications were rejected on financial grounds.

"Council decided to reject all tenders for the Stanthorpe Pool due to offers not providing council with the cost benefits that were anticipated," a council spokeswoman said.

She said council chief executive officer Andrew Roach had been delegated authority "to negotiate a lease with those conditions that existed prior to the 2014/2015 financial year with the previous lessee (the Smails)".

Community concern was raised when an advertisement for the Stanthorpe Pool tender applications was published in the Courier Mail in early June.

Locals grew fearful that council preferred 'large management' for the ongoing administration of the pool.

Many took to social media to voice their support for the Smails, who have leased the facility for the past 14 years.

A number of letters were also submitted to The Border Post as well as council.

"I cannot envisage a better qualified and experienced team to further manage and enhance our Stanthorpe Pool," wrote Guy Cantrel.

After speaking with mayor Peter Blundell on Friday, Mr and Mrs Smail are now eagerly awaiting a letter from council.

"I guess we have to take it as good news, we don't know too much at this stage though," Mr Smail said.

"We're hoping for a long term lease, we'll just have to wait and see what comes in the paperwork."

Wednesday's council meeting saw tender applications for the Allora Pool and Warwick Indoor Recreation and Aquatic Centre (WIRAC) also rejected for "failing to provide cost benefits".

Stanthorpe Border Post

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