GSAC in deep water
The Goonellabah Sports and Aquatic Centre (GSAC) has delivered $717,900 less in revenue than expected to Lismore City Council.
Council has cut back on services, resulting in operational savings of $652,100 but that still leaves Council with a hole in the budget of $65,800 for the financial year to June 2010.
Mayor Jenny Dowell said the GSAC figures were worrying.
“It is of great concern to the councillors that budget expectations are not being met,” Mayor Dowell said. “Councillors accept that the forecasts of income were unrealistic, and I guess we’re looking forward to better figures next time.
“I’m aware that there’s been some reorganisation of programs and staffing together with greater marketing.”
Council finance manager Rino Santin said Council was looking at staffing, which may result in reduced hours of access to the pool. The creche will also be closed.
“We’re looking at general staffing, program costs, promotions, electricity, water consumption – looking at where those costs can be reduced,” Mr Santin said.
At Tuesday night’s Council meeting Cr Neil Marks asked staff how the estimates could have been so wrong.
Council executive director of sustainable development Brent McAlister said the original budget was “way out”.
“It’s a new facility, now we’re seeing what the reality is and dealing with it accordingly,” Mr McAlister said. “We’ve spent some money on marketing, and there has been an increase, particularly in the learn to swim and gymnasium. Of late we have introduced a boot camp, which has been successful and has increased revenue but you could hardly say it was a significant increase.”
Cr Vanessa Ekins said lap-swimmers had been complaining to her about the temperature being too high.
“The pool was designed as a leisure facility and the temperature is set accordingly,” Mr McAlister said. “In terms of the sporting facilities, we’ve had good patronage, but Council don’t run it. They’re also limited at night, particularly at certain times.”