Radical overhaul for Griffith pool

COUNCIL has commenced a radical overhaul of the Griffith pool, which has been haemorrhaging money since it opened 14 years ago.

COUNCIL has commenced a radical overhaul of the Griffith pool, which has been haemorrhaging money since it opened 14 years ago.

COUNCIL has commenced a radical overhaul of the Griffith pool, which has been haemorrhaging money since it opened 14 years ago.

The Griffith Regional Aquatic Leisure Centre (GRALC) will be split down the middle within a few months to encourage a private operator to assume management of the gym, crèche and possibly the kiosk.

The changes are in line with an external audit released in April, which labelled the facility "not sustainable" and recommended a new indoor 25 metre pool, upgrading or relocating the kiosk and building a new outdoor barbecue area.

It remains to be seen whether a private operator can return the gym to profit, with one local industry stalwart doubting its potential, but council has already fielded unsolicited expressions of interest.

Mayor John Dal Broi said new toilets and showers will be installed so the pool and gym can operate independently.

"The pool users are concerned admission rates will be sky high if it goes into private hands, so we will keep control of the water to keep the price of admission down," Cr Dal Broi said.

"From my perspective, we need to cut our losses from the facilities we shouldn't have been running in the first place and focus on running the water component well.

"We then need to look at feasibility of providing more water space, and I've seen some layouts with a new outdoor 50 metre pool but that doesn't give us much room to provide shade areas and barbecue facilties.

"One idea is to build a new 25m pool outside with a bulkhead in the between the two pools and when it's hot enough in the summer you take the bulkhead out and you have a 50m pool, but we have a lot more homework to do before we commit to anything like that."

Jason's Gym owner Jason Grogan said the Griffith gym market was becoming crowded and suggested a new proprietor would need to invest in equipment to attract attention.

"I suppose being a government-run gym the wages are killing them and whoever took it (the GRALC gym) on would need to do the work of three or four people to make it profitable," Mr Grogan said.

"There's no one gym in Griffith that's absolutely dominating the market and no one gym is completely packed out, so they will have to do something to make it worthwhile for people to go there.

"A few people have had a look at running it so who knows, if someone's willing to have a go anything's possible but demand is limited."

Council's director of business, cultural and financial services, Max Turner, has assumed control of the restructure as general manager Brett Stonestreet has a conflict of interest.

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