The Dubbo Aquatic Leisure Centre will close at the end of the month as planned, despite requests by swimming clubs to keep it open longer.
Dubbo City Swimtech president Jay Forrester and Orana Aquatic Swimming Club president Kristen McWhirter and head coach Anthony Chapman contacted council requesting the pool remain open past the original closing date in order for their students to train for upcoming events that had been pushed back because of COVID.
"Our athletes have been training at the DALC facility since September and are now approaching the peak of the swim season, with major competitions including state and national championships coming up over the next two months," the letter from the Orana Aquatic Swimming Club reads.
"It was a disappointing end to the 2019/2020 season with our athletes being deprived of the opportunity to complete at their major competitions due to COVID, and it would be disappointing to see their preparation hindered this year resulting from a lack of access to facilities," they said.
Both clubs requested the pool opening be extended for the month of April.
However, during the council meeting on Monday night councillors decided the cost involved, and past decisions made about similar requests in Wellington meant this request would be denied.
Speaking on the matter Cr John Ryan said the $28,000 price tag for the month was too high for ratepayers considering the year they have had.
"The two things that concern me are the ad-hoc nature, if we do vote for the extension we will have every club thinking it's open slather and just this one month extension would cost the broader ratepayers $28,000, if you multiply that by 10 or 20, or 50 groups, all of a sudden that gets into very significant money on a year where we really have to be thinking where can we pair things back," he said.
"We need to convince all sporting organisations and all groups to come and talk when the budgetary processes are being sort out, when the line items are being worked out, when things are being weight against other things, rather than having thought bubbles at the last minute."
Cr Vicki Etheridge noted it wasn't an easy decision for councillors.
"These decisions aren't made lightly, they are really difficult when it comes to our kids ... we just aren't a bottomless pit. We have been beaten up pretty bad with drought, and then COVID and a myriad of other things, and there is a procedure that groups like this should be going through at estimates time. A bit more forward thinking would be much to their advantage.
In an amendment to the recommendations, put forward by Cr Etheridge, council will advise the clubs that it is unable to extend the DALC season because of financial and operations requirements associated with the impact of COVID-19.
Councillors noted that all clubs should contacted them before the management plan is put together, allowing them to work out during the budget how much can be afforded on each facility for the financial year.
The centre is currently running at a financial loss.
The Dubbo Regional Aquatic Leisure Centre will close for the season on Sunday, March 28.
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