Jobs lost in con­tract change

Feilding-Rangitikei Herald - - Taihape - ALIS­TER BROWNE

The woman who helped run the Tai­hape Swim Cen­tre for 19 years is mys­ti­fied over miss­ing out on the new con­tract from Ran­gitı¯kei District Coun­cil .

Tai­hape woman Buzz Clarke’s ten­der for the job in the up­com­ing sea­son was re­jected by the coun­cil in favour of Palmer­ston North­based out­fit West End Aquat­ics, run by Trevor Ni­cholls.

Clarke was in­volved with help­ing run the 22-week sea­son at the pool when the Tai­hape Com­mu­nity De­vel­op­ment Trust had the con­tract.

She put in a ten­der when the trust ceased its in­volve­ment a short time ago. But she lost out to Ni­cholls, throw­ing her­self and eight staff out of work at the cen­tre - and says she still doesn’t know why.

‘‘I’ve had no feed­back at all,’’ she said.

What she did get was an email from coun­cil chief ex­ec­u­tive Ross McNeil, say­ing the de­ci­sion ‘‘wasn’t made lightly’’.

McNeil said the de­ci­sion ‘‘re­flects coun­cil’s de­sire to in­vest in the level of the swim­ming pool ser­vice for the Tai­hape area’’.

Clarke said she was un­sure what this meant be­cause she made clear she was of­fer­ing the same level of ser­vice at the pool as had been the case in past years.

‘‘I made sure we were com­pli­ant with the rules and reg­u­la­tions.’’

As far as she knew there was no dis­sat­is­fac­tion with the way she ran things at the cen­tre, or if there was, it hadn’t been made known to her or her team.

Clarke said she of­fered ’’a re­ally good, af­ford­able price’’ to the coun­cil to run the cen­tre.

She wanted to thank the com­mu­nity for its sup­port for the cen­tre.

‘‘They make it live and breathe,’’ she said.

In a me­dia re­lease on Oc­to­ber 20, the coun­cil said the Oc­to­ber 12 de­ci­sion to award the con­tract to Ni­cholls and his team was made in the knowl­edge he would be look­ing lo­cally for peo­ple to work at the cen­tre.

Ni­cholls has been run­ning the Mar­ton Swim Cen­tre for the past five years.

McNeil said the de­ci­sion was part of the coun­cil’s ‘‘pro­cure­ment process’’ af­ter the com­mu­nity trust re­lin­quished its con­tract.

There has been a ma­jor up­grade of the pools’ fil­tra­tion and heat­ing sys­tems, cost­ing about$500,000.

The new sea­son will open on Novem­ber 18.

PHOTO: EMILY BEAU­MONT/STUFF

Swim in­struc­tor Buzz Clarke with Zachary Dorn and Amelia Player, at the Tai­hape Swim Cen­tre in 2016

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