Olympics hopes revived at pool
OLYMPIC hopeful Matthew White won't miss any chance to train in Rockhampton's new $5 million competition pool after a deal was struck to provide free access for swimming clubs and elite athletes until the end of June.
The 23-year-old breaststroke specialist has trials in less than a month that will make or break his dream of representing Australia at the London Olympics later this year.
"I will be in the new pool as much as I can. This is a fantastic thing," he said.
The deal, thrashed out after councillors held talks with the region's swimming club representatives, means the clubs will be able to use the 50-metre, 10-lane pool without having to pay lane hire fees.
Club members will simply pay to enter the southside complex for the same price as recreational swimmers - $4.20 for adults and $3.80 for children.
The clubs had expressed fears that the council's charging regime for the new pool would price them out of the picture.
But Lane4 Aquatics, which runs the council-owned complex on a management lease, ended the doubt by agreeing to waive any lane hire fees for the next four months to allow the two sides to agree on a permanent fees structure.
Mayor Brad Carter said it was made clear to him at a forum last week the importance of the pool being affordable for competitive swimmers.
"I took these concerns on board and felt an urgency to resolve them," he said.
"There are a number of talented swimmers around the region who are in training for big events.
"They need to be able to access the new facilities immediately in order to get the best training they can in the short time they have left before these events, and the clubs have conveyed that the current fee structure makes this very difficult."
He said the Lane4 Aquatics offer was fantastic.
The council says it is now entirely confident that power supply issues would be addressed in time to make it possible to heat the pool this winter.