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10 November 2021
SIR, – I have many questions and doubts about proposed changes to the administration of Horsham Aquatic Centre and fear local input could be at risk for this important community facility.
Horsham Rural City Council has employed a consultant to review and revamp its many committees.
Long experience as a journalist has told me that proposals put forward to the consultant are almost certainly to be adopted, albeit with a few tweaks and with just enough community consultation to tick the appropriate boxes.
But Horsham Aquatic Centre is not even listed as one of the committees under review.
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While the council plans to retain ownership of HAC assets and future development, the proposal is that YMCA Victoria – or whatever organisation wins the tender from mid next year – will be in charge of programs. The current advisory committee will cease to exist.
I fear we could see a lessening of local input into yet another community asset.
The YMCA Victoria representative during my 10 years on the advisory committee showed scant interest in resolving the issues I raised on behalf of members.
This facility is such an important venue for people and a wonderful place to improve both physical and mental health, so I find it disappointing that we could lose out in many ways in the long run.
Issues I raised included the convoluted booking system, a sub-standard sound system used during group pool sessions, lack of trained instructors, website errors, disconnect between senior staff and instructors, programs cancelled without notice, ad hoc holiday programs and failure to adhere to those listed, ‘word of mouth’ program changes, lack of promotion of ‘target groups’ such as retirees and investigation into reasons behind loss of members to other Horsham gyms.
Then there was the failed attempt by management to set up a user ‘focus group’ to hear and deal with concerning issues.
I have many questions: Why has this been such a secretive issue? Have HAC members – or the public – been informed and consulted on the planned changes? Who made the decision to implement these changes but has not included them as part of the revamped HRCC committee structure? Is it to save money for HRCC in the long run? Who will ensure that user groups are appropriately represented and have adequate say on any new advisory committee? Will there be a HRCC representative to this group?
I urge all HAC groups to plan now to have a representative – and hence a say – on any new user group committee.
The entire November 10, 2021 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!