Pool poll ‘sabotage’

Townsville Bulletin - - Front Page - By LEONIE JOHN­SON

TOWNSVILLE City Coun­cil has been ac­cused of sab­o­tag­ing a sur­vey be­ing done of pa­tron­age at Kokoda Me­mo­rial Pool.

Reg­u­lar pool user Neill Groves said there was spec­u­la­tion among Kokoda users that pool user cal­cu­la­tions were be­ing done at quiet pe­ri­ods dur­ing the day.

‘‘The coun­cil told Kokoda that they’re do­ing a sur­vey on the pool — this sur­vey is be­ing done at 9am and mid­day, when no one should be in the pool any­way, and 4pm,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s ob­vi­ous they’re try­ing to fudge the fig­ures from my way of think­ing.

‘‘There’s an ul­te­rior mo­tive there to close the pool.

‘‘I con­tacted (Townsville City Coun­cil­lor) Dale Parker and he said it was just the me­dia spin­ning the pub­lic.

‘‘They are pay­ing se­cu­rity guards with our money to do a head count on a Satur­day and Sun­day, and they’re only count­ing peo­ple in the pool and not out­side the pool and it’s cost­ing the coun­cil heaps.’’

Mr Groves said he sus­pected the coun­cil had other plans for the land that would earn them more than the swim­ming pool.

‘‘My the­ory is the land will be sold to de­vel­op­ers,’’ he said.

‘‘That’s my fear — it’s such a prime piece of a land and they not only get the ini­tial sale price but they get the rates ev­ery year.

‘‘The whole pool has been let run down un­til it gets to be a mas­sive re­pair bill and they say it costs too much to fix. ‘‘I think that’s their strat­egy. ‘‘I think the coun­cil has done a good job in our parks and The Strand and I’m not dead set against the coun­cil or any­thing but I think they need to keep Kokoda open for ev­ery­one.

‘‘It’s called the Kokoda Me­mo­rial Pool, named af­ter our boys who went into com­bat so it shouldn’t be just closed down.’’

Mr Groves and his wife at­tend the pool three times a week along with about 20 oth­ers for morn­ing wa­ter aer­o­bics.

He has been go­ing for four years and said he couldn’t imag­ine where he would go oth­er­wise.

‘‘If they close that pool I don’t know where we will go,’’ he said.

‘‘If they close that pool ev­ery­one will have to go to Long Tan be­cause To­bruk is too far for most of us to travel.

‘‘Peo­ple love this pool and I’ve got three pages of sig­na­tures from peo­ple all over Townsville that come to that pool.’’

Mr Neill said Kokoda Pool man­age­ment staff had tried to sub­mit their own counts of swim­mers but the coun­cil re­fused their find­ings.

Townsville City Coun­cil Act­ing Mayor Jack Wil­son said res­i­dents needed to ‘take a cold shower’ and stop gos­sip­ing about the fate of Kokoda.

‘‘I know we have got some­one ap­pointed to mon­i­tor the us­age of the pool,’’ he said.

‘‘We are ac­tively mon­i­tor­ing the pool for the amount of swim­mers.

‘‘The Mayor has made it clear the coun­cil is au­dit­ing all the pub­lic swim­ming pools in Townsville at the mo­ment, which in­cludes Kokoda.

‘‘We’re look­ing at the us­age of pa­tron­age of the pool and whether the de­ci­sion is good or bad, we will make a de­ci­sion af­ter the re­sults are in,’’ he said.

‘‘Un­til then my ad­vice to peo­ple talk­ing about Kokoda pool is to take a cold shower.’’

Photo:BRYANLYNCHPEM28812

FIG­URES ‘FUDGED’ . . . He­len and Neill Groves say users want Kokoda pool to stay open

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