Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council backflips on pool cuts

TUMBLETURNS: The Captains Flat community was outraged their pool season was to be cut in half. Photo: courtesy of the Captains Flat Community Association website.

TUMBLETURNS: The Captains Flat community was outraged their pool season was to be cut in half. Photo: courtesy of the Captains Flat Community Association website.

Council has backflipped on a plan to cut the Captains Flat pool season in half after community outrage.

Two community meetings were held in Braidwood and Captains Flat a week after the Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council announced it would cut operating hours and pool seasons across two of the three pools in the former Palerang Shire; Braidwood, Captains Flat and Bungendore.

In a move which frustrated the former Palerang community, council staff undertook a review of the pools, excluding Queanbeyan, at the request of administrator Tim Overall. It resulted in the slashing of pool opening hours and a reduction in pool seasons.

Council also put in place new measures to employ two staff instead of one, increasing the running costs of the pools and going beyond measures recommended by the NSW government.

At the community meetings, about 63 residents attended to have their say.

A spokeswoman for council said the new report, tabled at the August 24 meeting of council, took into account the community feedback.

The new report recommends a 17-week pool season for all three pools, from October 29 to February 28, and further funding for $44,000 to cover the additional staff time required.

Captains Flat resident Kerenza Brown said she hoped the council would listen to the community first in future.

“It is excellent news, we’re very happy,” Ms Brown said.

“I think its a good outcome and I think perhaps the new council might have a better understanding of what it means to live in a rural community like Captains Flat, and how important a swimming pool is for the community.”

​The council had already committed $131,000 to undertake immediate remedial works and address workplace safety issues at the three pools “to enable them to be of sufficient standard to open for the 2016-17 season”.

“Council received strong representations from community members in response to this report requesting that their season hours not be so dramatically reduced,” administrator Tim Overall said.  

He said the communities expressed concern over the proposal to reduce access hours.

“They stressed the pools fulfill an important social role within their communities,” he said.

The council agreed and recognised the role pools play as important social hubs over the summer months, Mr Overall said.

A spokesman for council had previously said the communities had not been consulted on the drastic cuts because the impending season meant urgent decisions needed to be made.

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