THE Ovens and Murray Aquatics Action Group’s latest attempt to speak with Albury and Wodonga councils about charges facing water polo and swim clubs has been rejected.
The most recent rebuff came this week in a letter to action group member and former mayor Stuart Baker.
“The councils have requested, and await, written endorsement from the associations that your action group has indicated it now officially represents,” the letter co-signed by Albury acting general manager Tracey Squire and Wodonga chief executive Patience Harrington said.
“Once that has been received, you are welcome to represent the associations in discussions with the councils’ contractor, Aligned Leisure, on all operational matters, including pool usage charges, which should be raised with the contractor in the first instance.”
Lane hire fees have been waived by Aligned Leisure for the first season of management contracts between Aligned Leisure and Albury and Wodonga councils, but the action group remains concerned they will be enforced in remaining years.
Mr Baker’s son Jack, who is also an action group member, said it had the formal backing of the associations and wants to deal directly with council.
“They’ve made a decision to put in this contractor and so far it has gone from bad to worse,” he said.
“They are putting it onto Aligned because they don’t want to deal with it.
“But the buck stops with them.”
Mr Baker said clubs were still fearful if lane fees were enforced they could fold.
Meanwhile, Aligned Leisure has confirmed eight of 11 aquatics clubs had signed off on user agreement with separate agreements with swimming and water polo associations also signed.
Clubs which haven’t signed run the risk of losing pool space, but Mr Baker said lane hire fees remained the biggest issue.
All fees charged by Aligned Leisure at Albury pools are subject to annual review, but not in Wodonga.
A joint statement from Albury and Wodonga councils in response to Mr Baker’s concerns repeated comments made in the letter.
“The councils have requested, and await, written endorsement from both associations that the action group officially represents them in discussions regarding pool usage charges,” the statement said.
“The councils have also referred any operational matters, including pool usage charges, to be discussed with the councils’ contractor in the first instance.
“Users groups are encouraged to continue to work with Aligned Leisure to discuss opportunities that can further develop and promote their activities.”
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