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Swimming pool to close at Orange Ex-Services Club

Swimming pool to close at Orange Ex-Services Club
April 27, 2019

Facing a substantial bill to refurbish its ageing 25 metre swimming pool, as well as ongoing operational losses, the Orange Ex-Services Club is to close the facility as of this Monday (29th April).

In closing the facility, the Club has blamed "extensive operating costs, ageing plant and equipment and aquatic facility supervision requirements".

Club Chief Executive Daniel Perkiss recently advised that the 50-year old facility had incurred losses of $100,000 a year and would cost $378,000 to bring it up to standard, including new filtration and heat exchange systems, basic upgrades to toilets and showers and a new pool lining.

Perkiss advised “if we review the operating costs and interest over the next decade, the club requires an outlay of some $6.5 million to provide this facility to members.”

Pool users and learn-to-swim programs are now to be moved to Orange City Council’s Orange Aquatic Centre.

Council spokesman Nick Redmond has told local media that the Centre's management was expanding classes to cater for extra enrolments and the final timetable of classes was still taking shape.

Redmond advised "there is extra capacity in all levels of the centre's Learn To Swim program for families who want to enrol in the next round of classes, which begin after the school holidays.

"But like any service, its first come-first served and people may not always get their first preference for times."

Redmond has also advised that swimming instructors from the Ex-Services Club are also to be employed at the Centre, but could not guarantee all would be reemployed.

With the Orange Aquatic Centre unlikely to be able to meet user demands, the Council is now considering developing a new 25-metre indoor pool.

In addition, the Ex-Services Club has also offered the Council a 10-year lease at $1 a year.

The Club’s decision to close the pool has become a major issue in the western NSW city.

Orange Councillor Glenn Taylor, a long-time Club member, sees that the Club is failing to provide services for members and has advised that he will seek election at the next annual general meeting to put the focus back on the members.

Councillor Taylor told local newspaper the Central Western Daily "it's no longer a club - they put all the money into motels which is all well and good for the bottom line, but what do the members get out of a motel in their own town?"

He questioned finances as the reason behind the decision after, according to the latest publicly available annual report on its website, the club made $1.6 million in profit in 2017, with $27 million in turnover.

That same year, 53% came from poker machines.

Councillor Taylor "(the Club) can afford to keep staff on until 5am (to manage hospitality areas), but they can't afford a couple of lifeguards.

"There's a community component - they'll say they sponsor football teams, but let's see how much they make from poker machines."

The Club's 2017 annual report said it returned $14 million to Orange through wages, procurement, $500,000 in member discounts and more than $1 million in grants and sponsorship. 

Corrected 28th April 2019. Original article referred to the pool being 50 metre swimming pool.

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8th November 2018 - ‘Fumes’ lead to three day closure of indoor pools at Orange Aquatic Centre

25th October 2018 - Chlorine leak closes Orange Aquatic Centre

19th February 2018 - Dubbo RSL Aquatic and Health Club indoor pool closes amid roof safety concerns

5th November 2017 - Child drowns at Orange Aquatic Centre

4th May 2015 - Outdoor seasonal pools under ongoing threats

11th November 2014 - Refurbished Parkes Swimming Pool looks forward to third year of increased use

23rd June 2014 - Two year old Orange Aquatic Centre needs repair

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