THE Orange Ratepayers’ Association has criticised Orange City Council’s decision to keep the 50 metre outdoor pool open and heated throughout winter despite low patronage.
The association believes pool heating is costing ratepayers up to $1000 per day.
“We’re very concerned about the heating costs,” president Brian Wood said.
“Why is it open when there’s no-one swimming there?
“The heating cost itself is tremendous, it’s an ongoing thing.”
But council spokesman Nick Redmond said the association’s figures were an exaggeration with council only spending an average of $186 per day to heat the 50 metre outdoor pool and diving pool since October.
“We heat the pool right through summer but obviously there will be power increases in winter,” he said.
“The ratepayers have existing form in suggesting the worst case scenario and they’ve done it here again.
“Even though the numbers are down the community expectation was to keep the facility open.”
Mr Wood said the association was also concerned about a potential budget blowout for the troubled $7.2 million aquatic centre complex which they believe could be as much as 50 per cent more than first estimated.
“We haven’t been told what the costing is,” he said.
“They [the public] have a right to know because 83 per cent of people didn’t want this built initially, that was from a survey in the CWD.
“It was a push from a minority group to have it done.”
Mr Redmond said council would finalise costs of the project in a later report.
“Additional costs and variations are dealt with in the standard clauses of any type of standard contract,” he said.
He said work to rectify problems with the pool base was yet to start with the contractors Buildplan, independent consultant, and council staff assessing the success of initial tests on a product to fix insufficient concrete coverage.
Mr Wood acknowledged that some pool supporters may say it is too late to complain about the almost completed complex. But he said it was part of a wider problem of complacency among some residents.
Pool attendance numbers for April were 2555, in May 826 and so far in June 448.