Bega Valley Shire Council scraps proposed pools rate variation

Lisa Herbert29 January 2020
Bega Council today voted unanimously to abandon any further consideration of an Special Rate Variation. Photo: Supplied

Bega Council today voted unanimously to abandon any further consideration of a Special Rate Variation for local pools. Photo: Supplied.

At the first meeting for 2020, Bega Valley Shire Council has voted not to proceed with an application to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) for a Special Rate Variation (SRV) to fund the Shire’s six public swimming pools from 2020-21.

Councillors today voted unanimously to abandon any further consideration of an SRV, along with deferring the adoption of the draft Swimming Pools Strategy in line with the recommendation from staff.

Any potential revisitation of these matters will now be a matter for future Councils and would be assessed and determined with the bushfire recovery efforts and progress front of mind.

Given the scope, magnitude and impact of the bushfire disaster and ongoing campaign fires, it was pertinent that Council considered its position in relation to the proposed SRV at the earliest available opportunity. As a result, the matter was brought forward from February.

The community sentiment surrounding the SRV proposal had been mixed through the public consultation periods, and today’s report included the submissions received during the most recent exhibition period, which were majority opposed.

A Council media release stated “With so many individuals and businesses in our community either directly or indirectly impacted by the bushfires, it is absolutely clear that any potential increase in rates would have resulted in an unnecessary burden being placed on our people at one of the most challenging times in our history.”

“This resolution will in turn better enable Council to narrow its focus to supporting the community through the ongoing fires and recovery process and steadfastly pursue the goal of building back better.”

Resolving not to proceed to apply for the SRV does bring ongoing financial impacts for Council, as the intention had been for it to cover the ongoing operating and capital upgrade costs associated with the existing six swimming pools across the Shire.

At this stage the operating costs for the existing six pools will be funded from Council’s General Fund, however the previously adopted goal of maintaining all six pools will need revisiting.

The cost and timing of the capital upgrades for both Bega and Cobargo, scheduled to be completed in the next 10 years, will also require further consideration.

In other news, Candelo Pool, which has been undergoing significant repairs to the pool shell since November 2019, is due to open on Monday 10 February.

Conditions caused by the region’s recent bushfires and subsequent rain has delayed ongoing repairs, however painting has now been completed. This will need a week to cure and the pool will then be refilled and water treated to operating requirements.

Entry to Candelo Pool will be free and the swim season has been extended until the end of April 2020.

What's Your Opinion?

22 Responses to Bega Valley Shire Council scraps proposed pools rate variation

Stephen Mills Stephen Mills 10:46 am 31 Jan 20

It’s a good decision for now, but hopefully the pools will get the needed upgrade eventually. I tht the BVSC letter to ratepayers about the proposed increase last year was good. (It seems some of the comment-posters here did not read it.)

James Murray James Murray 2:27 pm 30 Jan 20

Does this mean that Bemboka Pool will be the first one to be closed as in the recommendations? When is Candelo Pool going to get access for those of us in the community that cannot climb vertical ladders? When is the Council Access Committee going to do something about this?

James Murray

Susan Davidson Susan Davidson 9:22 am 30 Jan 20

Yeah....common sense prevails

Phillip Winters Phillip Winters 4:07 am 30 Jan 20

Anyone notice the picture.

It's candelo pool.

The bvsc didn't even pay for it.

Craig Vipond Craig Vipond 3:09 am 30 Jan 20

Excellent. You still need pools for teaching children to swim. And adult's

Gary Roberts Gary Roberts 12:42 am 30 Jan 20

"Special Rate Variation for the shire’s six local swimming pools." What does this even mean ? Is it code for putting the cost of a swim up from $3.80 (or whatever it was)?

Carmen Alexander Carmen Alexander 10:44 pm 29 Jan 20

Feeling pretty confident in saying BVSC were told by Gladys to do this. Don’t thank them too soon. We will still pay just not now

Julie Armstrong Julie Armstrong 9:21 pm 29 Jan 20

Thank you.💕

Dale Willis Dale Willis 8:46 pm 29 Jan 20

Great, and I hope they will waive development application fees for rebuilds after the fire too.

Debra Cobbin Debra Cobbin 8:31 pm 29 Jan 20

Well done council

Jennie Minifie Jennie Minifie 8:19 pm 29 Jan 20

Public pools are social assets enjoyed by the community. In the future they will require more funding, as pools always do. So this can only be a temporary solution, and the State and Federal governments must provide additional funds to cover those deferred costs.

    Craig Vipond Craig Vipond 3:08 am 30 Jan 20

    Jennie Minifie Yes and a great asset for children to learn to swim. Actually numerous adults can't swim☝

Michele Heaton Michele Heaton 7:29 pm 29 Jan 20

Thank heavens

Amanda Heather Amanda Heather 7:29 pm 29 Jan 20

Good on them

Steph Cochrane Steph Cochrane 7:18 pm 29 Jan 20

Thank god!

Kim Morgan Kim Morgan 6:58 pm 29 Jan 20

Well done BVSC. No doubt you’ll revisit this in the future but great decision for right now.

Anthony Grant Anthony Grant 6:57 pm 29 Jan 20

Good choice ....

Tennille Schaefer Tennille Schaefer 6:46 pm 29 Jan 20

A conscience vote well done and thank you

Helen Roberts Helen Roberts 6:40 pm 29 Jan 20

It should never have been considered!! Rates are out of control already!!

Sharon Walker Sharon Walker 6:37 pm 29 Jan 20

One less issue we have to deal with. Glad of decision

Marianne De Beuzeville Marianne De Beuzeville 6:27 pm 29 Jan 20

A good decision