HIGH HOPES: Stanthorpe Swimming Club hopes to keep its strong reputation despite changes to the facility.
HIGH HOPES: Stanthorpe Swimming Club hopes to keep its strong reputation despite changes to the facility. Liana Turner

Swim club hopes for solid future

STANTHORPE Swimming Club has hit back at plans to merge the town's pool and YMCA into one operation.

The club's president Shannon Armbruster said her swimmers had been making big waves at competitions across the state.

But uncertainty about the future of the facility where the swimming club's training and events are held has overshadowed the big success of the past season.

"Our Executive team are greatly concerned by the proposed changes to the leasing arrangements at the pool,” she said.

"As a Technical Official for Darling Downs Regional Swimming Association, Swimming Queensland and Swimming Australia, I visit a large number of pools across the Darling Downs and Brisbane.

"Our members are well supported by the current pool lessees, with arrangements and agreements in place to allow for the growth and development of our swimmers.”

The club hosts two of the region's key swimming events - the Stanthorpe Open and Country Championships - and have enjoyed a strong relationship with the pool for many years.

"To lose that would be a massive blow to us,” she said.

"I have seen first-hand the destruction of clubs whose pools have been taken over by larger companies that have little or no interest in Learn to Swim, Swimming lessons for schools or squad swimmers.

"They have folded within 12 months of this happening due to the restrictions put in place with lease arrangements - the inflexible, impersonal and narrow-minded operating models do not allow for clubs to support their members, and increasing costs force them to shut their doors.”

Southern Downs Regional Council's manager for community services and major projects Michael Bell said it was important existing services would continue to be available to the community.

He said the council planned to have the Talc St facility under new management within six months.

As both the YMCA and pool are owned by the council, Mr Bell said SDRC would support the facilities indefinitely if new operators were not found in that time.

Mr Bell said the council had held meetings with the YMCA board and pool lessees.

"Council will continue to pay the lease fees for the remaining period, approximately $100,000, to the current lessees of the Talc St Facility and the Swimming Pool,” he said.

"In addition council will cover costs for capital works, maintenance, and chemicals as it normally would.”