Despite high temperatures, Campaspe Shire Council has reiterated its decision to close seven outdoor swimming pools across the shire this week.By Trent Horneman
Campaspe Shire Council is standing by its decision to close seven outdoor pools across the shire this week.
Service Executive Manager Paul McKenzie said the Monday of the March long weekend had traditionally been a closing date for outdoor pools.
A Colbinabbin woman, who was also a qualified lifeguard, offered to keep her town’s pool open after Monday’s scheduled close.
Council refused to let the woman volunteer after hours so it could allow community groups to use the facility.
Instead, council charged groups $90 an hour to open the pool outside of its scheduled hours.
Mr McKenzie said council would refuse to allow volunteers to operate outdoor pools, because it was not meeting council’s duty of care.
He also said $90 an hour was a standard rate charged to all community groups.
‘‘Qualified lifeguards are required to operate pools, with qualifications in first aid and lifeguarding, as well as a knowledge of the filtration and chemical testing requirements,’’ he said.
‘‘All of these requirements ensure the safety of all patrons.
‘‘While council values the role of volunteers, the use of volunteers as lifeguards does not meet council’s duty of care or insurance obligations.
‘‘Volunteers are used in the delivery of some of council’s services, however are always under the supervision of an employee of Campaspe Shire and their roles do not involve the protection and safety of others.
‘‘All outdoor pools have a standard rate of $90 an hour to open outside operating hours.
‘‘This charge covers all staffing and overhead costs.
‘‘The rate also covers all entry costs.
‘‘This rate is the same for any organisation at any outdoor pool managed by Campaspe Shire.’’
In Wednesday’s Riv, Cr Robert Danieli said added cost was a reason behind the pool closing on Monday.
Mr McKenzie said the opening of outdoor pools from November through to March had been factored into previous contract arrangements, and was factored into the management tender as advertised last year as well.
‘‘This opening period was accordingly also factored into the operating plan by Campaspe Shire,’’ he said.
‘‘There are no cost savings achieved in closing on March 11, this was factored into the operating plan.’’
Cr Danieli said he wanted council to review its plan during winter.
‘‘Now that the outdoor pools have closed for the season, a review will be undertaken prior to the next operating season,’’ Mr McKenzie said.
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