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June 22, 2024 11:31 PM

Battle Over Fees at Denman Pool

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BY DI SNEDDON

Young swimmers in Denman will miss out if Muswellbrook Shire Council enforce new fees, according to Denman Swimming Club president Anthony Johnston.

Mr Johnston and others on the committee, along with club members, have been left gobsmacked at the proposal to be charged by council for the club to conduct its own swimming lessons and squad training.

Muswellbrook Council has indicated it will charge lane hire at $30 an hour in addition to a $50 fee for each child taking part in squad or lessons every school term.

The club uses at least two lanes three times a week so the lane hire alone will be $180 a week.

“We as the club are providing the learn to swim teachers and coaches, not council, I do not understand why we are being asked to pay to provide a service to Denman,” Mr Johnston said.

“We have families with four children so that would be an extra $400 a season for them to pay to council just to take part in lessons or squad,” he said.

Mr Johnston said the members all pay an entry fee to use Denman Pool and most paid the $295 season pass.  Membership to Denman Swimming Club is $100 in line with the NSW government’s kids’ active voucher with $79 of that going to Swimming NSW for insurance.

Muswellbrook Council provides swimming lessons at Muswellbrook Pool but The Hunter River Times has been told there are close to 200 young children on the waiting list for lessons.

“Council is asking for money from these children but are not supplying a service,” Mr Johnston said.

“We, as the club, are providing the service, or are trying to.”

The club has been waiting for permission from Council to begin learn to swim classes, with qualified, swimming teachers ready to get in the water with the children.  The club will pay for the cost of the teachers but it is the additional and prohibitive costs of using Denman Pool that is the sticking point.

In previous years, these lessons start in October but to date, the children are yet in get in the water for lessons because of the argument over the new fee structure.

“Our club has never paid for lane hire or had to pay council any money for each member and with the increasing costs of living, now is not the time to introduce additional costs to families.

Muswellbrook Shire Council is continuing discussion in a collaborative manner with Denman Swimming Club regarding the fees and charges for the use of the Denman Pool. Council’s Fees and Charges are adopted and applied in compliance with the requirements of the Local Government Act 1993. However, Council is supportive of, and sympathetic to, the circumstances of the Denman Swimming Club and will continue to collaborate with the Club in order to achieve a mutually satisfactory solution.

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