Residents put forward 12-month plan to keep pool open
WITH the threat of closure still looming over the Ulmarra Pool, the Ulmarra Pool Preservation Association has called for Clarence Valley Council to give the community 12 months to improve attendance numbers and keep maintenance costs down.
Spokesperson for the group and former member for Clarence Steve Cansdell said if the pool were to close it would be a huge blow for the community, but admitted the community needed to show its support if the pool is to stay open.
"In some ways the community can blame themselves because they didn't support it when they had they chance, but they didn't believe it would close," he said.
"We don't want to see kids playing in the river. At the moment the kids have a park and a pool, and if they close that pool they will lose a community facility that is a a safe place for them to swim."
Mr Cansdell said he will meet with council on November 17 to put forward a plan from the UPPA for what maintenance opportunities the group can take over to help keep costs down, before applying for a tender to operate the pool in January.
"Even on a small scale, if we can give council a 10% saving, there's efficiencies to be made and the community will start accessing the pool and using it more it it's kept open," he said.
"I believe that it's a positive and hope the councillors don't just look at the dollars. If we make it a condition that there's 12 month efficiency reviews as part of the tender of the pool, and if we can show the community is supporting the pool and graph is going up in attendance and down in costs it gives then keep it open. If the community isn't interested, and the figures are down, I'd support councils decision to close it.
"I do firmly believe if we get a 12 months operations review it gives council a chance to see if it's a community benefit or a burden around their neck.
"If we don't use it, we're going to lose it. We need that stance."
Mr Cansdell said the UPPA is in a better position to perform maintenance like concrete and electrical work, and there is the opportunity to apply for a variety of government grants as a community group to reduce the cost to ratepayers.