Media statement – inland pools review
City of Newcastle (CN) officers are undertaking a review of the management of the city's five inland swimming centres.
CN currently leases the Lambton, Wallsend, Stockton and Mayfield public swimming centres to BlueFit Aquatics. They also run the Beresfield Swimming Centre kiosk and turnstile under a contract arrangement.
The four pool leases were due to expire on 30 June 2019, however, prior to that date the leases were varied to allow for a rolling 12-month holding over period while a review was undertaken.
This is consistent with procurement guidelines approved by the elected Council in 2017 that delegate contracts less than $1 million to Council management.
CN Councillors were notified in writing on 1 February 2019 that the existing contract for the operation of the city's pools was being rolled over for a period of at least 12 months.
Due to the pandemic forcing our pools into extended closure in early 2020, and then again in 2021, a decision was twice made to delay the pools management review until there was confidence there would be no further COVID-19 forced shutdowns.
A tender process under the supervision of an independent probity adviser is currently being undertaken so that staff can understand the future cost of operating our pools if done via the pools industry, as well as the industry's willingness to invest in the upgrade of our pools.
This information is required to accurately complete a review of the operation of our local pools and future costs of any future upgrades. The review’s focus is on the continued operation and upgrade of our local pools, and ensures no loss of CN jobs.
The current review includes an expression of interest for options including both the operation of and significant investment into upgrading CN owned pools.
This process is best practice and is guided by the requirements of the Local Government Act, the Office of Local Government guidelines and CN's obligations under its current enterprise agreement.
CN remains committed to ensuring the city's swimming centres are affordable and accessible to all members of the community.
There is no opportunity under this pools management review, to close a pool, or sell the land.