Council to consult with island community over aquatic centre

Redland City Council has responded to requests from the Russell Island community and will consult with island residents on the future use of Bay Islands Aquatic Centre, on Russell Island.

Councillors today supported a Notice of Motion from Division 5 Councillor Mark Edwards asking Council to engage with the community during the negotiation of a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to operate the pool from next year.

“While the State Government Department of Education and Training owns the aquatic centre, Council operates it under a MOU, which expires in April 2020,” Cr Edwards said.

“Following today’s decision we will engage with the Southern Moreton Bay Islands community about their needs in relation to the future use of the pool.”

Deputy Mayor Lance Hewlett said Council had listened to the island residents’ requests about the pool’s opening hours but under the current MOU, the Department, as owners of the aquatic centre, had priority use of the pool for education purposes.

“The pool may be opened for community use outside of those times,” Cr Hewlett said.

“The agreement was formalised in 2015 and stipulates that Council will operate and manage the pool in accordance with the terms and conditions set out within the agreement.

“The pool operates seasonally, opening at the start of the September school holidays each year and closing at the end of the following April school holidays.”

Cr Edwards said Council has trialled extending the school holiday hours to 84 hours per week, opening from 6.30am to 6.30pm, Monday to Sunday.

“This is an increase over the 69 hours that were in operation last season, with only a small increase in patron intensity,” he said.

“The minor increase in patronage did not support the additional operational costs incurred by Council; and the outcomes of the increased hours trial, including the costs, rostering of staff and the increased level of usage, are being reviewed.”

Cr Edwards said school holiday hours were able to be extended under the MOU as the Department did not require the pool for school use at that time.

“Should Council enter into a new MOU with the Department, it will be after consulting with the island community,” he said.