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City of Darwin to outsource management of three public pools

City of Darwin to outsource management of three public pools
October 12, 2015

An independent report has called on the City of Darwin to look at outsourcing its three swimming pools to a commercial operator in order to reduce deficits.

The City of Darwin Swimming Pools Strategic Directions Report also urged the Council to offer different experiences for the community at its Parap, Nightcliff and Casuarina pools.

The report suggested Parap pool should focus on delivering “the main regional aquatic competition and training facility” that the Nightcliff pool should provide “a destination facility with a focus on lifestyle, tourism and relaxation”, while the Casuarina pool would provide “a contemporary family aquatic recreation and leisure facility”.

The report recommended the Council conduct a feasibility study to determine how the pools could be best managed.

They are currently managed by a contractor, but another option could be to outsource the facilities to one or more commercial operators.

The report stated “under the lease, council intentionally removes itself from the day-to-day operations of the facility, in favour of a single-point of contact and a professional contractual relationship with the designated representative of the leasing entity.”

It found that over the past seven years each of the three facilities had operated at a significant financial loss.

Respective deficits where Casuarina $275,000 a year, Parap $195,000 a year and Nightcliff $164,000 a year.

Although pool attendance between 2008/09 and 2014/15 had increased, the Council was being forced to subsidise each visit, paying an average of $4.22 for every visitor to the Casuarina pool.

The report recommended the three pools should offer a “quality water play park for toddlers and young children to encourage the immediate neighbourhood’s use of each of the pools by local families, playgrounds and community event organisers”.

The report also encouraged the Council to consider opening other facilities at Casuarina to improve patronage. These included a multipurpose sports centre, mini golf course, maze, youth centre or rock climbing centre.

The report claimed the introduction of new services would help Casuarina become Darwin’s “main venue to deliver a broad range of family orientated leisure and recreation services” that would “compliment but not actively compete with the existing Leanyer Recreation Park facility”.

Image: Royal Life Saving Society NT lifeguards at the Casuarina Pool.



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