Sport: Swimmers sunk by pool costs

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THE ACT Government should have a close look at the control it has over its own sporting facilities.

The current saga involving the Civic and Tuggeranong swimming pools is a case in point.

In discussing this though, I must reveal that my son is a member of the Cruiz Swim Club; a club that trains at the Civic Olympic Pool.

The pool is a government-owned facility and is managed by The Club Group Management. From what I have seen, it is an efficient organisation but no doubt would be seeking to generate as much income as possible out of the pool.

Increased usage is something it is at. The swimming community has no problem with this; in fact, the more people swimming, the better.

At the heart of the debate is the implementation of a penalty fee if the lanes, which are booked and paid for by swimming clubs, are not fully utilised with 10 swimmers per lane, per hour. We are talking about early in the morning, from 6 am, and afternoons from 4pm, usually 4.30 pm.

The management of this government-owned facility is seeking to increase the usage of the pool and believes swimmers will be put off if they turn up and there is no space, which is fair enough. At the moment, and from what I have seen over the past few years at Civic Pool, there is plenty of room for the swimming public. In fact, it would be great to see even more people filling the lanes.

The question that is being asked is: why are swimmers in squads being penalised? They are the best customers, 12 months of the year. They have already paid to get in, like anybody else who swims; they then pay so that the club can secure a lane or two, no argument there. Why is there a need to add an extra cost if there are not 10 swimmers per lane, per hour? These swimmers have already paid twice and now there is a push for a third payment. What has that got to do with attracting more swimmers not in squads?

You can imagine the outcry if this happened to sporting fields; not enough players, so you’re financially penalised.

However, as negotiations progress it appears that the under-utilisation fee might disappear.

We can only hope that whatever the outcome, all people attending these ACT Government facilities can enjoy swimming with equitable distribution of swimmers across lanes and at a reasonable cost.



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Tim Gavel
Journalist and ABC sports broadcaster

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