The new operators of the aquatic centre are struggling to get enough staff for the extended operating hours required by the Town Council last week.
Rob Heinjus, of the Adelaide based firm Casa Leisure, says he hopes permanent residents will show more interest in becoming lifeguards to make making the $19m facility work.
Around 12 of them are needed during the summer season, and three to four when only the indoor pool is in operation.
It's hard to operate with itinerants such as backpackers or short-term visitors, he says.
Photo: The indoor pool of the aquatic center (courtesy Town Council).
WorkSafe have issued a "prohibition notice" after observing manual handling of chlorine gas cylinders at Alice Springs Aquatic Centre, because workers were at risk of "being crushed by the cylinders if they got away from them".
Laurene Hull, the Executive Director of the authority, says the prohibition notice does not affect public access to the pool as management is now chlorinating the water by other means.
This is the latest controversy involving the town council owned centre and its management by the YMCA.
The Y's Helen Sargent, who is in charge of the pool contract, declined to comment when asked by the Alice Springs News Online.
Recently a letter leaked to the News revealed that there are significant cost overruns for the management, and the Y is seeking a higher fee from the council.
Council's works manager, Greg Buxton, says the Y is obliged under the contract to comply within safe operating procedures which, relate also to the handling of the chlorine cylinders, and to comply with Occupational Health and Safety requirements under the Act.
"This is a matter between the Y and WorkSafe," says Mr Buxton. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.
The YMCA has asked the Town Council to pay it an additional amount of up to $45,000 a month "over and above the existing subsidy" for managing the town pool. The request was made by Fiona Davies, president of YMCA Central Australia, in a letter in December last year which proposed "a new business model with a new business plan and budget for presentation to Council at its March 2012 meeting."
The letter has been leaked to the Alice Springs News Online.
Meanwhile in a comment piece yesterday the News asked: Why can't we get a straight answer on this one?
The Alice Springs News Online had a phone call yesterday from someone requesting anonymity. What that person told me prompted me to send the following email to Mayor Damien Ryan and Town Council CEO Rex Mooney.
"I understand the YMCA has under-tendered for its management of the pool. Takings from attendance, and as a result, earnings, are well below expectations. The council is paying them half a million dollars more [in excess of the contract] during the life of the agreement (1 or 2 years?). This bail-out has not been made public. The proper course of action should have been to re-tender the contract. Could you please comment on this?"
Mr Mooney responded yesterday: "Erwin, thank you for your email. My comment is: I am constrained by confidentiality to comment on the assumptions conveyed in your email." And Mr Ryan (pictured) replied: "Erwin ... any questions on operational issues need to be directed to the CEO." ERWIN CHLANDA reports.
Defects of the town pool have been described as a "major issue" in a confidential report to the Town Council. Consideration of council matters in confidential sessions is on the table as an election issue, with mayoral candidate Eli Melky accusing council of doing too much business this way. The report says the solar system has been leaking, despite having been repaired in early January, and as such has been shut completely in order to prevent damage to the roof of the indoor complex.
High pressure in filter pots of the leisure pool "continues to be a major problem" and pool staff have "worked under crisis for most of the holiday period. The Plant remains a major problem."