Sporting Clubs Fight Against New Lane Hire Fees At Border Swim Centres

The Border's Morning News Thur Sep 27


26 September 2018

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Aligned Leisure and AlburyCity and Wodonga Council staff have met water polo and swimming organisations tonight regarding their use of the cities’ aquatics facilities for the upcoming season.

The clubs have been presented with the costings and implementation of the lane hire fees, which are heavily subsidised, and which will not come into effect until January 1, 2019, giving clubs three months to transition to this arrangement.

Lane hire fees are not a new charge but have been inconsistently applied across facilities in previous years.

AlburyCity Mayor Cr Kevin Mack said lane hire was standard practice at aquatic centres and this change brings the Border swim centres in line with industry practice and provides equity and access for all pool users.

“Aligned Leisure will continue to work with all clubs throughout this season with their requested lane allocations and continue to support the clubs and their members in participating and enjoy their sport,” Cr Mack said.

Wodonga Mayor Cr Anna Speedie said sport clubs, organisations and professional groups across the cities paid for the use of the community’s facilities whether it be through leases, licence agreements or hiring fees.

“We have some amazing facilities across our community and they are often used shared by multiple groups as well as members of our community. Our pools are no different and this is about ensuring equity among all our users whether they be organised sport or families,” Cr Speedie said.

The standard lane hire rate is $27.90 for the Wodonga Sports and Leisure Centre and $25.80 for the outdoor pools. This fee will be subsidised to $10 for swim clubs and $5 for water polo clubs. The fee is subject to annual review and increases.

The cost for the five water polo clubs for the remaining 13 weeks of the season for training and the Saturday and Sunday competition days will be a combined estimate of $16,412.50 which is about $39.07 per player or about $3 a week.

For the remaining 13 weeks (and the 24 weeks including the Wodonga Sports and Leisure Centre in winter) of the swim clubs’ season, the combined estimate is $33,595 based on current allocations which is about $70 per member or about $5.40 a week.

To assist with the transition, Aligned Leisure have offered to significantly reduce the costs associated with hiring facilities for events with clubs able to generate income through the gate takings. Aligned Leisure will also be offering opportunities for fundraising activities such as raffles and barbecues throughout the season.

Many water polo and swimming members previously took out memberships at multiple facilities. Players will save up to $150 for adults and $350 for families with the new cross-border memberships.

While tonight’s discussion did not reach an agreement, Aligned Leisure will continue to work with users towards an agreeable outcome. The councils hope a resolution can be reached for everyone involved and that benefits all users.

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