I READ with interest in The Courier that the city council has approved $160,000 to upgrade two original change rooms at the Ballarat Aquatic Centre.
The council finance executive manager Glenn Kallio said "Change rooms urgently needed an upgrade, are tired and detract from the facility. The age of these facilities detracts from all efforts made to rectify the current issues".
This is yet another example of council spin and mismanagement.
As a regular pool user, the facts are as follows. It is only a few years ago that the change rooms were renovated and a new floor installed.
The manager of the centre, the YMCA, for many years has consistently failed to properly clean the change rooms which has resulted in dirt, soap and grime penetrating the surface of the floor and becoming ingrained so it is now impossible to fix.
Late last year members of a user group took photos of the change rooms which also showed ingrained slime on the tiles and, on December 6, 2011, a deputation met with the CEO Anthony Schinck, Mr Eric Braslis and councillor Craig Fletcher to express concerns about the poor standard of cleaning by the YMCA and, in particular, the unacceptable filth of the shower floors and tiles.
Mr Kallio has also seen these photos.
This facility compared to other pools is not old. The fact that, after only a few years, the floor needs to be replaced is a direct result of the failure of the YMCA to properly clean them and a total failure by the council as the owner to regularly inspect the facility and to ensure that it was being properly cleaned and maintained in accordance with the management agreement.
The YMCA should be made to pay for the replacement of the change room floors, not the citizens of Ballarat.
With the exception of the shower floors, the change rooms are quite acceptable. All that we as users request is that the YMCA properly clean them on a daily basis. The citizens of Ballarat should not be paying one dollar to fix this problem.
Mr Kallio urgently needs to direct his attention to the quality of water in the pools which is far from satisfactory and the subject of ongoing complaints.
It is interesting to note that approximately two months after the deputation on December 6, 2011, council officers recommended to council to grant a fixed $5.8 million 10-year management agreement to the YMCA but failed to notify the councillors when they voted that there had been a recent user deputation to the council complaining about the poor management and the disgraceful standard of cleaning.
Let's hope in the forthcoming council elections, we get some strong-willed councillors who will start to make senior council officers accountable for their advice and performance.
Like the Aquatic Centre there needs to be a real clean up in this council.