IT IS my understanding that the Southern Downs Regional Council wishes to change the future lease agreements for the Allora, Killarney and Stanthorpe pools.
They wish to put the cost of maintaining the pool onto the vendors.
They also wish for vendors to give a percentage of their takings to the council.
In the Daily News (Jan 6) Mayor Tracy Dobie states:
"Council sets the fees...Council will continue to set the fees and charges based on operating costs.”
If the pool vendors are required to take on additional costs then I have no doubt fees will increase.
If fees increase, many in our community will be unable to afford to use the pool - which in turn will lead to further increases.
Once a "business minded” vendor takes over, the focus will be on generating a return in addition to covering the maintenance and maintenance material cost, as well as possibly giving the facility an upgrade and covering the cost of staff. This all costs money and most of our community members, (currently paying $2.90 entry to Allora pool), will not be able to afford the fees found at business focused pools, such as Milne Bay ($6 entry) or WIRAC (Warwick Pool costs $5.70 for entry).
One of my concerns would be the negative impact on Allora community activities.
What will our community do if we allow our pool to be businesses focused? Where will our Allora State School P&C hold fundraisers during the holidays, such as the movie pool night held on Jan 6? Or the Aquathon fundraiser, held on Jan 14, to raise funds for the Allora State School Year 10 trip to Canberra. Both these activities charged no fees to enter the pool and are 100% community focused.
An increase in fees means access to our community pool may not be feasible for half our community.
My concern is that it is the more disadvantaged people who will be most affected.
I am also concerned our community, particularly our youth, will become restless with an unaffordable pool.
They will find more destructive ways to entertain themselves around our beautiful town. This would affect the whole community.
The pool is currently a community hub. I personally have made many friends and visit the pool regularly with my children.
Allora children from both local schools attend lessons and happily pay the $1.90 entry fee.
Will some local children not be given the opportunity to learn to swim because of a fee increase?
The current vendor and staff go above and beyond their pool staff role for our community.
Besides fundraisers, support with exercise and building relationships with others, I have found a great acceptance of people with disability, a friendly country conversation when I need it, and, of course, a place to escape the heat.
I worry that the nurturing, caring nature of the pool will be lost with a business focused company running the pool.
I urge the community to support the current way our pool is run.
I urge the community to write to the council and object to this change. I will happily start a petition, if others support my views.
Our pool which has supported us, now needs our support.
Our current vendors have done a wonderful job for around nine years and are happy to continue under the current arrangements.
I ask the council, why change a good thing?
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