Long-running businesses turfed out
LOCAL businesses managing Western Downs council pools were told yesterday morning that their tenders would not be renewed, with the council instead opting to go with a Sunshine Coast company.
SwimWise Aquatic Centres owner Micheal Wise, who has been running pools in Chinchilla, Miles and Dalby for the past six years, said this was a huge blow to him and his 30 staff.
"I'm gutted, absolutely gutted,” Mr Wise said.
"Thirty staff will have to reapply for their jobs with this new company,” he said.
"Now I've got to refocus and move on.”
Mr Wise said he learned council was looking at other companies to manage the pools after a potential company representative reportedly came to inspect his pools.
Western Downs regional council announced yesterday afternoon that Sunshine Coast company Swim Fit would be taking over management of the aquatic centres in Chinchilla, Dalby, Miles and Wandoan from July 1, with operations in Tara to begin at the end of the year.
Councillor Ray Brown said the new tender would give residents more access to facilities and programs at a cheaper cost for ratepayers.
"To us, it's a very, very good outcome,” Cr Brown said.
"The general public should realise swimming pools don't pay for themselves.
"We've been through a very exhaustive process trying to encourage a future in our pools,” he said.
"The cost of the new tender is substantially cheaper.”
Cr Brown said the previous tender who won the contract wasn't from the region either.
"We have been assured from the new awardee that they will be utilising existing staff.”
Western Downs regional council spokesperson said in a statement "Swimwise were at the end of a six year contract, whereby the contract was initiated for a three year term with an option for a further three years.”
"Swimwise were fully informed of the impending contract expiration,”
"Swimwise submitted a tender for this contract and therefore were well aware we were seeking tenders for the management of our Aquatic and Fitness Centres,”
"Council communicated with Swimwise consistently throughout the whole contract including discussions regarding the tender process,”
"The new company has expressed a strong desire to re-employ the current employees and will be endeavouring to contact them or would welcome hearing from each of them as soon as possible.”