Family floundering at pool prices
The cost of taking the family for a swim has gone up so much at the Lismore Memorial Baths that some people are driving to Casino instead, according to Sharleen Maxwell. She and her family were considering getting a six month family pass which last year cost $374, but found it has been scrapped this year. Instead they were told they could get a season pass (valid for nine months) at a cost of $735.
“The council are out of touch with what working families in Lismore can afford,” she said. “There are so many families who can longer afford to get a family pass.”
They called other pools in the area to find out what a family pass would cost and were staggered to find out how much cheaper they were than Lismore. For example the Casino pool is $180 for a family season pass, Kyogle is $210 and Alstonville is $280. They even did a comparison with Manly in the Northern Beaches of Sydney and found it was $100 cheaper than Lismore. (The Goonellabah Sports and Aquatic Centre doesn't have a season pass but a family pass for a year costs $975).
The Maxwell family said they used the pool “five or six times a week” last year and were hoping to do the same again this year because their eldest son Zachariah was in a training squad and they were teaching their youngest Levi to swim.
“They go on about obesity and yet they make it unaffordable for families to come for a swim,” Sharleen said.
They are so incensed about the fee increase that they have contacted all of the Lismore councillors to see if they could get the fees reduced and are planning to do a letterbox drop to try and get others to put pressure on council to reduce the fees.
But Council's general manager Paul O'Sullivan said there had been “very few” complaints about the pool entry costs.
“Lismore's Memorial Baths facility is the most modern in this area, providing shade, excellent amenities and an Olympic standard pool for competition swimming,” he said when asked why the cost was so much higher than others in the region.
He said there will be a review of the decision to abolish the six month pass with the next month.