Families forced to dip deep for swim

COMPLAINTS from Lismore families have forced Lismore City Council to rethink its axing of the six-month family pass for the Memorial Baths.

The option families were given at the beginning of the season in September was to buy a nine-month season pass, at a whopping $735 – almost double last year’s six-month option at $374.

The council will tonight vote on a motion to re-introduce the six-month pass, but the ticket is only one of several price hikes introduced at the baths.

The daily entry fee has gone up from $3 to $3.50; a three-month pass has risen by $65 from $208 to $273; and the 12-month pass has gone up a whopping $212 from $673 to $885.

By contrast, the Casino pool charges $2.80 for adults and has a family season pass for $180. Kyogle charges $210 and Alstonville $280 for their family passes.

Memorials Baths’ team leader, Matt Mander said the six-month pass had been popular with the public and ‘a number of people had commented when it was dropped’. He was unable to say the increased fees had led to a fall in pool attendances.

However, Gary Jones, a shift supervisor and lifeguard who has worked at Lismore pools for seven years, said: “We do appear to have had a drop-off in attendances.

“In the past we would have said it was rain that was causing it. But it has been a nice warm year and it is likely that finances are a factor in people’s decision-making, given the context of the global financial crisis.

“Many people have been accepting of the new prices, but we have had a number complaining that they couldn’t afford to come any more.”

Defending the fee hikes, the council released a statement saying ‘the Memorial Baths facility is the most modern in the region, providing excellent amenities and an Olympic standard pool’.

Barbecues at the pool meant it was ‘not only a swimming pool, but an entertainment venue available to families and the community at large as a reasonable cost’.

The charge for a six-month off-peak family pass, should it be reinstated, would be $368.

The definition of a family has also broadened from four people to include all those on a Medicare card.


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