New pool boss closes doors

AFTER finally finding his dream job as the manager of Gracemere Swimming Pool, Harry Gale has not only had to start looking for a new job, but he's had to cancel 50 swimming classes leaving many parents and children devastated.

From April 24 the pool will no longer be open to the public and the Department of Education will become the operators of the facility.

Tony Gilligan who has had the lease contract of the Gracemere Swimming Pool since 2008, said he paid for the pool to undergo an audit report regarding the pool's standard and safety in February.

"That pool is way under the minimum standards and I paid out of my own pocket to have this report done to show council that some money needs to go into it to improve it," Tony said.

"Council never paid me any retainer, but wanted me to staff the pool, while the school children swam free of charge."

Tony was also told he would have the option of removing the heated pool from the grounds, leaving many learn-to-swim parents and swimmers from Gracemere, Mt Morgan and other out-of-towners without a pool to access nearby.

"Now everyone will have to drive into Rocky and no-one wanted to do that. I had to cancel 50 learn-to-swim classes that were supposed to start, so everyone is really angry and disappointed about it," Harry said.

Tony said the audit report showed there were many issues with the facility that needed to be repaired or improved including signage, paintwork, tiles and the toilets.

"It seems that as soon as council saw it needed dollars put into it, they just wanted to blow it off," he said.

In response, Rockhampton Regional Council said it intended to work towards ensuring the community had access to the Gracemere pool outside of school hours.

"The council will work with Education Queensland in identifying all user groups to assist in obtaining fair and equal access," a council representative said.

Central Queensland regional director of education Wayne Butler said: "The 20-year agreement between the Department of Education, Training and Employment and the local council for Grace-mere Swimming Pool expires on April 22, 2012."

"Gracemere Swimming Pool was due to close on April 24 for the winter season and Rockhampton Regional Council had already notified the community of this annual closure.

"The pool will undergo general maintenance during this time."

Topics:  closure

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