The Y withdraws from town pool management


The YMCA has withdrawn from its aquatic centre management contract more than two years before it was due to expire in July 2014.
The Town Council is now calling for tenders, seeking “professional and experienced managers of aquatic and leisure facilities for the contract which will commence on Sunday 1 July, 2012”.
This follows disclosure of financial difficulties first reported by the Alice Springs News Online and more recently, an intervention by WorkSafe in the handling of chlorine gas cylinders.
Earlier problems had been described as “major”.
Council CEO Rex Mooney says “council and the current contractor have agreed that a new management tender is in the best long term interest of the operations of the facility.”
Chair of YMCA Central Australia Fiona Davis says:  “YMCA Central Australia would like to thank Alice Springs Town Council for the guidance and support with Alice Springs Aquatic and Leisure Centre, which is a wonderful facility and a valuable asset for Central Australia.”


  1. I read the words of Rex and Fiona, but what do they MEAN? Phrases like “best long term interest of the operations of the facilities”. What in the heck does that mean? Did Rex go and ask the water pumps or something? And Fiona thanks the Town Council for guidance and support! Must have been top quality Guidance and Support, eh?

  2. How interesting that this has occurred AFTER the council elections? It would seem this should have occurred much earlier. Well done Alice Springs News too on bringing this story to light in the first place. I get the feeling many wanted it to remain hidden.

  3. It appears that the Y plus Alice Springs Town Council found it necessary to cover up the problems instead of putting efforts into fixing and addressing issues. Staff that were required to perform duties that breached OH&S practice to keep quiet the failure of machinery and equipment to work correctly. Machinery and equipment that should still be under warranty. Putting staff at risk of injury is not a good look for the Y and more disturbing is the “ASTC covering their eyes and ears” see and hear nothing.
    It is time governments at any level got training in honesty. They still have not learnt that they are not good at cover-ups. And people are getting sick of being treated like idiots. We are not fools but those who treat us like fools are the real fools. Foolish behavior is no longer acceptable.

  4. The emerging story of the YMCA, the Alice Springs Town Council and the Aquatic and Leisure Centre is one very good reason to have the placement of all items listed for confidential discussion subject to challenge.
    Had a question been asked relating to the centre, quite probably the matter would have been declared commercial in confidence and kept in Confidential. But by allowing a challenge, public awareness might have been aroused, further questions might have been asked and, who knows, answers given.
    It is not in the interests of any town to keep its residents in the dark. Our Council seems to be especially keen to do that. I don’t know who is responsible for this, but suspicion has to include the council officers responsible for placing items in Confidential when drawing up the agenda.
    It’s time we the public were given the right to challenge that placement, the right to ask why. And if it transpires that only 10% or 20% of a matter is confidential, then is it too much to ask Council to find a way of splitting the matter between Open and Confidential?
    A bit of imagination please. And more information. Always more information. File it under transparent and accountable, and just do it.

  5. Why don’t you ask the question of the person who got his finger cut off recently and the arrival of fire and rescue the other day at the center. The hospital should be able to provide a comment.

  6. [ED – Mr Rowe copied this letter addressed to town councillors to the Alice Springs News Online. Erwin Chlanda, Editor.]
    Hello Councillors,
    In the wake of the recent town pool debacle, I would like you to be aware of something when renegotiating a new management contract [for the town pool – aquatic centre].
    I wrote to the Alice Springs News when the YMCA contract was first awarded, outlining my concern that popular swimming coaches Deb Renkin and Petina Franklin were prevented from using the new heated facility because one of the conditions in awarding the management contract was that the YMCA had exclusive rights to any learn to swim program.
    I know that Petina has taught many children (including my own) over the years and is very popular.
    I found it disappointing that considering this a facility funded by both the Alice Springs Town Council and the NT Government for all residents, that we could not choose the instructor we wanted. It was either the YMCA or use the outdoor pool (in the middle of winter)!
    If instructors wanted to use the facility, they were told that they had to become YMCA staff and teach the Y’s program.
    As part of my initial complaint, I informed Lawrie Lawrence and Dawn Fraser of the situation. Dawn in particular was surprised that anybody would even consider placing commercial interests over such an important issue of children learning to swim.
    I can only hope that if a new manager is appointed, part of the contract will be that local swimming instructors are not excluded from using the facility, and they are charged a fair fee for lane hire.
    All parents should feel free to select the instructor of their choosing, at a  facility that is essentially owned by residents / ratepayers /taxpayers of Alice Springs. This facility was not built for the YMCA
    I can only implore you to ensure that all stakeholders are consulted whenever a new management tender is advertised, to prevent a repeat of the restriction of trade policy that was accepted with the previous managers.   
    I believe that some concessions were made with instructors.
    Ray Rowe
    Alice Springs
    Hi Ray, Thank you for sending me a copy of the email you forwarded on to the above recipients and I believe it is in the community’s best interest that they have a choice when selecting their children’s swimming teachers.
    Petina Franklin


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