Maclean Pool. Photo: Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner
Maclean Pool. Photo: Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner Adam Hourigan

Council urges new Maclean Pool contractors be given a chance

PUBLIC reaction to the granting of a lease to look after the Maclean pool showed how much people appreciated the work of the former lessees, but also showed a lack of understanding of the competitive tendering process, according to Clarence Valley mayor Richie Williamson.

At its ordinary meeting last week, Clarence Valley councillors voted 8-1 in favour of a tender from Glenreagh company Valley Pool Services for the management and operation of the Maclean pool, ending 39 years of continuous involvement from former operators John and Robyn Clarke.

If you were a councillor considering tender bids on a project, which two of the following would you consider to be the most important?

This poll ended on 24 July 2014.

Current Results

Local knowledge

19%

Cost

15%

Experience

30%

Future vision

5%

Use of up-to-date technology

1%

Health and Safety Awareness

9%

Reputation

18%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Cr Williamson said councillors only had positive things to say about the Clarkes and were thankful for the great work they had done over such a long period.

"But ratepayers also expect us to spend our money efficiently, and in the case of swimming pool management, that means putting these contracts out to tender," he said.

"We are told repeatedly in our community consultation that people want things done as efficiently as possible.

"And that's what we have done here. We have chosen the most competitive tender via a competitive tendering process. These types of decisions are always difficult for councillors.

"I appreciate too that it is difficult for members of the public to get the full picture. Because the tender documents of the unsuccessful applicants have to be kept confidential, it is difficult for members of the public to get the full information.

"I can say, though, there is a considerable cost saving for ratepayers going with the tender we have accepted."

Council general manager Scott Greensill said operating swimming pools was an important function of the council, but with public pools in Yamba, Maclean, Ulmarra, Grafton, South Grafton and Glenreagh, it was a heavy drain on ratepayers.

"The community has told us it wants to keep each of these pools open, so we are obliged to find the most cost-effective way of doing it," he said.

"The tender process is fair and transparent.

"We have been through that process and councillors awarded the contract to the applicant they thought offered best value for money.

"People should be prepared to give them a chance. Valley Pool Services is a local company that operates the Glenreagh and 25m Orara Valley pool at Nana Glen.

"I've seen some comments from people saying they won't use the pool because of who won the tender. That appears to be an attempt to punish the new operators simply because they were successful."

The tender process

Open tenders were called on May 27, 2014, and closed on June 24, 2014, in accordance with Local Government (General) Regulation 2005.

Three businesses, all from within the Clarence Valley Council area, submitted tender documents.

A tender evaluation committee comprising of three council officers met on June 25 and determined all applicants met the tender requirements.

The tenders were assessed on a price:non-price criteria on a 60:40 basis, as per the tender conditions.

Non-price criteria were considered first and Valley Pool Services scored the highest.

Valley Pool Services was also the lowest price.

The tender evaluation committee prepared a report to councillors to be considered at their committee meeting on July 8. That report included commercial-in-confidence attachments for councillors to compare prices.

On July 15 the full council voted 8-1 to accept the tender from Valley Pool Services.



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