Swimmers threaten to boycott over pool uncertainty
ANGST is threatening to boil over in the Stanthorpe community with pool uncertainty continuing to linger.
Southern Downs Regional Council announced last week that the tender process had been further extended after they'd resolved not to accept the tender submissions made for the management and operation of both the pool and fitness centre facilities.
The move has been met with swift condemnation. Pool members, concerned parents, swimmers and many others from within the local community have been quick to slam council over the decision.
But, Mayor Tracy Dobie says they have constitutional and legal obligations to uphold.
"It's not that we do this because we want to it's because council can not be anti-competitive," Cr Dobie said.
"The value of the life of the leases is over $200,000 so we have no choice, we must put them out for a tender process.
"The last leases were two years with a two year option and each of the lessees took up that two year option so now the leases are at an end and must be put out to public tender.
"Council staff will now liaise with each of the tenderers. If exactly the same happens again, we have no choice but to go out to tender again.
"Council is not in a position to provide what would be preferential treatment to any one party," she said.
People associated with the pool say they've attempted to communicate with council but been met with a brick wall.
A huge gathering congregated at the pool Monday morning to speak out against the current stalemate. The majority say they'll boycott the pool if the current lessees aren't kept on.
"The mayor has come in and blown us off," Stanthorpe Swimming Club's Shannon Armbruster said.
"It's whether or not they'll actually listen to what the community want for the community facility."
The facility hosts numerous swimming carnivals throughout the year, attracting vital dollars to town and Shannon said that could be in jeopardy.
"We have Stanthorpe Open at the beginning of February - show weekend - that's why we have it then. Those families come and spend the weekend here, they swim, go to the show... it's all about economics for us to try and boost it.
"We want it to stay as a community run facility with community people.
"We've got a dossier that thick on the implications of company's taking over pools. Now they didn't put a tender in first round... they're not interested because it's a six month facility.
"We're going to seek legal soon. I asked Mr Keenan (council CEO) what would happen if they rejected the tenders and it went back out and got nobody to tender, would they revert to the current leasees? he said that's not going to happen."