The splash on our pool contracts

A new $1,056,455 council contract will see Bendigo Regional YMCA Youth Services manage outdoor pools in Castlemaine, Harcourt and Maldon over the next three years.
Mount Alexander Shire councillors unanimously voted in favour of awarding the pool management contract to Bendigo Regional YMCA Youth Services at the ordinary meeting of council last Tuesday night.
But as part of that decision the council deferred awarding a contract to manage the Newstead pool, to its September ordinary meeting.
This was in response to a request from Newstead and District Swimming Pool Inc – which has previously managed that pool – calling for time to explore how it might be able to partner with the YMCA and the council to deliver the town’s pool services together.
Council officers will now hold discussions with the Newstead community and the preferred contractor regarding management of the Newstead pool.
Newstead and District Swimming Pool president Sue Pollard said deferment of the decision provided a chance for the Newstead community to work in partnership with the council and the preferred tenderer.
“This will ensure that the community remains connected and central to the Newstead pool,” Ms Pollard said.
The Newstead pool committee’s initial intention had been to tender for the contract to manage the pool itself, as it had successfully done twice previously.
However, it subsequently decided that the tender requirements, in terms of new standards, and risk and compliance obligations, had become too onerous for a community group.
A council spokeswoman said Bendigo Regional YMCA Youth Services had successfully managed the Castlemaine, Harcourt and Maldon pools over the last 10 years.
And the council’s acting director of sustainable development Ben Grounds said the local pools had recorded increased use over the most recent pool season.
“We saw a 23 per cent increase in attendance this last pool season,” he said.
The new contract covering Castlemaine, Harcourt and Maldon pools includes a number of targeted programs to increase participation such as Girls
Make Your Move, Grey Medallion, Aqua Yoga, family fun days and continuation of the VicSwim Summer learn to swim programs.
Meanwhile the council continues to investigate options for an indoor aquatic centre for Castlemaine – something that will be dependent on external funding.

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