YMCA Greater Murray has had to review its entire business after losing contracts to eight district aquatic facilities last year.By Jess Craig
YMCA Greater Murray has been forced to scale back its operations since losing contracts to manage eight district aquatic facilities last year.
Campaspe Shire Council made the controversial decision to end YMCA Greater Murray’s management of eight pools — including Echuca War Memorial Aquatic Centre — last year, stripping the organisation of around 70 to 80 per cent of its income.
YMCA Greater Murray chief executive Michael Bailey said the loss of the contract had been significant.
‘‘We have had to review our entire business and attempt to continue providing all of the community outcomes we are renowned for,’’ he said.
‘‘The size of our operations was scaled back quite significantly
‘‘We are continuing to push our community involvement, that’s who we are, but we were definitely affected by the loss of the contract.
‘‘We have been working closely with and have a fantastic relationship with the Murray Shire Council and are looking to expand our operations, particularly community programs within Moama and Mathoura.’’
The shire says its decision to manage the facilities in-house has resulted in better outcomes for ratepayers.
People and place general manager Paul McKenzie said in the 2013-14 financial year, council would achieve savings of about $200,000 when compared to the highest-scoring tenderer from the 2012 aquatic services tender process.
The Riv unsuccessfully asked Campaspe Shire Council for documents to verify these figures on Friday.
Bringing the management of the centres in-house was estimated to save the shire $560,000 over three years.
Mr McKenzie said council was also providing many programs at the pools which were not offered previously.
‘‘For example, learn to swim classes have been offered at outdoor pools and a portable inflatable was shared among outdoor pools to provide an additional experience for patrons,’’ Mr McKenzie said.
‘‘Direct management of the service has also allowed council to more effectively identify and undertake facility maintenance activities with minimal complications and disruption to service
He said participation levels were up since the shire took over management.
But Mr Bailey believed it was more accurate to assess a three-year period, rather than a 12-month period.
‘‘It is incredibly hard to understand the financial justification behind council’s decision, it would be interesting to see the figures and if both direct and indirect expenses were included,’’ he said.
‘‘Their lifeguard costs alone are around 30 per cent more then the YMCA’s or other providers.’’
Despite taking away 60 per cent of YMCA’s operations in the shire, Mr McKenzie said their contributions in the shire were still valued.
‘‘Council values the many services delivered by a variety of community organisations, including the YMCA Greater Murray,’’ he said.
Artist Nici Cumpston will hold a free Artist Talk at Shepparton Art Museum tonight, speaking about her body of work based around the Shepparton region.
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Echuca Football Club has signed Joel Magnabosco and Kane Morris for next season.
On Friday Rochester’s St Joseph’s Primary School opened a time capsule which was buried in the 1980s.
Waste collection in Campaspe Shire will change for two weeks during the festive season.
Valley Park Farms' egg production facility is expected to increase production and staff after a $100 000 Victorian Government grant.
Murchison’s Jane Spencer’s first exhibition It Just Dawned On Me will be on show in Shepparton in the first half of next year.
Lisa Milligan has started a new dog grooming business in Heathcote to help fund her Wild ABout Wildlife centre in Kilmore.
Police allege a man attempted to rob a Cobram supermarket today.
Federal Member for Farrer Sussan Ley says plans are in the works on how to get natural gas to Deniliquin.
New Transport Accident Commission research has revealed why some young country drivers habitually take risks on regional roads.
The Department of Environment and Primary Industries, Parks Victoria and Country Fire Authority will be performing planned burns in Goomalibee on Monday.
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