SOUTH Gippsland Shire Council has heeded feedback from the community and resolved to lower the temperature required for its outdoor pools to open in the 2015/16 season. The forecast temperature will only have to be 25 degrees, rather than 26 degrees, for South Gippsland’s unheated outdoor pools to open next summer.
Council’s decision to amend the contract with YMCA Victoria to reflect a change in outdoor pool opening temperature followed a report into the first year of the contract’s operation.
YMCA Victoria was awarded a three-year contract in 2014 to operate all aquatic facilities in South Gippsland, with the exception of the Toora Heated Pool. Council also increased the minimum opening temperature to 26 degrees. However, the increase in opening temperature has proved very unpopular with the swimming public. At a Combined Pools Advisory Group meeting in April 2015 all representatives agreed with the need for a temperature reduction for the 2015/16 season.
The appointment by Council of a part-time Pool Liaison Officer, by contrast, has been positively received. The officer has assisted committees with the development, organisation and promotion of events and ensured clear communication between the contractor and the community volunteers. The cost of the pool liaison officer for the season was $12,269. It is proposed to continue the position in 2015/16 at a cost of $13,000. Council will also increase the pool operating budget by $10,000.
Unfortunately, the high number of cool days (under 23 degrees) last summer, combined with the increase in opening temperature, resulted in the pools being closed more than they were open.
Nevertheless, attendance information on outdoor pools across Gippsland show that South Gippsland outdoor pools are exceptionally well supported by the community in comparison with similar facilities with much greater populations in neighbouring municipalities. Communities across South Gippsland have demonstrated time and again how much they value their swimming pools.
The contract with YMCA has provided consistency across the pools with opening hours. These will continue to be as follows in the 2015/16 season: school days from 3pm to 7pm and weekends and public/school holidays from 12pm to 7pm.
The pools at Korumburra, Poowong and Mirboo North will open for the 2015/16 season on November 29, but Foster Pool will not open until December 20 (to roughly coincide with the start of school holidays) on the grounds that the temperature in Foster is generally a couple of degrees cooler than the inland areas. All the pools will close on Labour Day, which in 2016 falls on Monday March 14.
Discussing the swimming pool contract review at their meeting last week, Councillors noted how very important it is for the community to work with the YMCA in the management of local pools and to support their pools by ensuring they are well attended.