Under new management. The Maclean Sports Centre should reopen early in November under the same managers at the Maclean Pool, Valley Pool Services, which has been appointed on an six-month contract.
Under new management. The Maclean Sports Centre should reopen early in November under the same managers at the Maclean Pool, Valley Pool Services, which has been appointed on an six-month contract. JoJo Newby

Green light for sports centre to re-open

THE MANAGERS of the Maclean Swimming Pool have added the town's indoor sports centre to their portfolio, at least temporarily.

At Tuesday's Clarence Valley Council meeting it was revealed Valley Pool Services Pty Ltd, which won the contract to operate the swimming pool complex in 2014, was appointed the interim manager of the Maclean Sports Centre.

The council has agreed to pay the the company a retainer of $18,800 for the six-month contract.

It has also allocated $35,000 in the budget to cover the management fee, electricity and maintenance. The general manager will be able to approve a variation of up to 10% in the contract.

An interim manager for the centre became necessary when former lessees McPherson Sport decided against taking up the five-year option on their lease in September.

The centre has been closed since mid-September while the council cleans and makes repairs to the building.

The owner of Valley Pool Services, Michelle Irwin, said the centre should re-open in early November.

She said her company would use the six months running the centre to trial the new business model for the centre, before considering if she would put in a tender for the centre when it came up next year.

The council approved a change in the business model to a paid retainer at the meeting.

Ms Irwin said reopening the centre would not come cheaply.

"The building is an empty shell at the moment," she said. "I will have to bring in equipment from my other operations and install computer systems."

Ms Irwin said she will be advertising for all the former users of the centre to return to the centre when it reopened.

"We don't have any indication of who used the centre before it closed, but we will be talking to them to get business back to normal."

Ms Irwin said the new contract won't put any extra strain on her company, which also manages pools at Glenreagh and Orara.

"We have 36 staff, including three trained as PTs (personal trainers)," Ms Irwin said.

"Another of my staff has represented Australia at Futsal, so there is quite a bit of expertise there."

Valley Pool Services took over the contract of the Maclean Pool in 2014 despite massive public support for long term managers John and Robyn Clarke.

The Maclean Sports Centre's previous lessee, McPherson Sports, was run by Janene McPherson, whose father Ross McPherson ran the Maclean Squash and Fitness Centre.

She said her businesess concentrated on building good relations with the community and local employment.

"We have 12 junior staff from the local area," she said. "We have training programs for school leavers. We provide a friendly, professional service. That's what we're all about."



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