SWIMMING and water polo clubs have been instructed to re-ignite talks with Albury-Wodonga pool managers on contentious lane hire fees after Albury Council baulked at the introduction of a preferred licence model on Monday night.
Albury deputy mayor Amanda Cohn won the required support to delay the introduction of the licence model pending Aligned Leisure's planned community engagement process be undertaken and completed by no later than April.
"The monthly licence usage model is the best option to balance the needs of clubs with the casual pool users who do expect clubs be charged for exclusive use of a public facility," she said.
"If I want to kick a football at Greenfield Park during a match, I can't do that because that football club has paid the licence fee.
"I strongly believe that is the expectation of our community."
Cr Darren Cameron was the only councillor to speak against Cr Cohn's motion and said council had a responsibility to remedy a situation it largely created.
"This was an error, I believe, in the construction of the tender and the tender process," he said.
"I have seen no contrition from senior staff about the tender process and am yet to see any reassuring or concrete signs that any steps have been taken to make sure this debacle cannot happen again.
"I cannot see how a democratically elected organisation can continue when it doesn't talk to its ratepayers about these very controversial issues."
Cr Cameron said he wasn't opposed to re-writing the contract with Aligned Leisure if agreement couldn't be reached with Aligned Leisure on the payment of lane hire fees.
Aligned Leisure's plan to introduce lane hire fees, which had not been charged to Albury swim and water polo clubs by previous pool managers, broke down last September when the Richmond Footballl Club affiliate planned to charge swim clubs $10 per hour and water polo clubs $5 per hour.
Aquatics community members Phil Evans, Danielle Cale, Karen Scannell and Stuart Baker spoke against lane hire fees being charged before the meeting.
"Councillors are being asked to support a licence model that doesn't have a budget or how much it costs," Mr Evans said.
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