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Council bid to run Gympie Aquatic and Recreation Centre ‘unable to compete’ with Belgravia Leisure

Council bid to run Gympie Aquatic and Recreation Centre ‘unable to compete’ with Belgravia Leisure
August 6, 2021

Gympie Regional Council has announced that Belgravia Leisure will continue to run its major aquatic centres after revealing a tender to run the facilities in-house would have cost considerably more.

As reported by Brisbane’s The Courier-Mail, the Melbourne based contractor’s offer to continue managing the Gympie Aquatic and Recreation Centre along with facilities at Goomeri, Kandanga and Tin Can Bay was cheaper than the Council’s own bid by an “embarrassing” margin.

Council staff recommended Belgravia Leisure be awarded management of the region’s four community aquatic facilities at a cost of $2.84 million over five years.

The Council’s in-house teams bid came out significantly higher at $5.6 million.

The cost for the Council to run the Gympie Aquatic and Recreation Centre alone was more than $3 million over five years while, under the same terms Belgravia Leisure, said it could do it for $1.65 million, later revised down to $907,863.

Gympie Regional Council’s Asset Director Gordon Magann said this was because the Council had to pay higher wages than the private operator, noting “we operate under different awards and conditions (so) it’s very challenging … to compete with them.”

With Gympie-based Deep Blue Aquatics the only other company to submit a tender, a motion by Councillor Bruce Devereaux to award the management of the Kandanga Public Pool to the local firm was passed after a vote.

With Belgravia Leisure having tendered to run either the Gympie Aquatic and Recreation Centre or all four of the Council’s pools, the exact cost to the Council to have them manage the remaining three pools is unknown.

As a result, the Council will now undertake further negotiations with Belgravia Leisure.

Belgravia Leisure was criticised by civil liberties expert Terry O’Gorman in 2017 after it was revealed staff were requiring families to let them look through private photographs on their telephones before leaving.

Staff were subsequently ordered to cease the practice.

Images: The Gympie Aquatic and Recreation Centre (top) and the Kandanga Public Pool (below).

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