Council thrown in the deep end

By Lawrence Gullery

The trust in charge of running the public swimming pool at Clive for almost a quarter of a century has handed the complex back to owners the Hastings District Council after finding it too "financially challenging" to operate.

The Clive War Memorial Swimming Pool Charitable Trust says it can no longer honour its contract for service with the council.

The trust received an annual grant from the council and was accountable for the operation and financial viability of the complex including all staffing arrangements.

It operated on a $142,000 grant and had requested additional funds to take it through to the end of June 2013 but the council declined its request.

The council's acting group manager of community facilities and programmes Craig Thew said the trust had worked well to manage the pool for the past 24 years.

Hawke's Bay Today asked if there would be any job cuts at the pool.

"Council is still working through the options that will come from the transfer of management but will endeavour to minimise any impact on the current staff," Mr Threw said.

Trust chair Mike Perreau said the past two years had been financially challenging with increases in costs such as power and fuel, and in particular increases in staffing to ensure the pool was operated in accordance with health and safety guidelines.

"The trustees have decided that they can no longer continue to manage the complex in a manner that they would like."

Hastings mayor Lawrence Yule acknowledged the good work of the trust which had faced a number of challenges with operating the pool over recent years.

The challenges included putting new health and safety measure into action and the cost increases all business face during day to day operation.

To ensure existing commitments such as Learn to Swim are honoured, the trust would work with the council through a transition process. The council would provide continued management of the complex while it considered the future options for all of its pools across the district.

The Clive War Memorial Swimming Pool was built by the Clive & District Community in 1955 initially as an outdoor facility and became the property of the Hastings District Council during the amalgamation of the Hawke's Bay County Council in 1989. The swimming pool's Charitable Trust was established in 1989 to manage the pool.

The Trust made the decision to cover the facility in 1994 to enable year-round use.


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