Along with my fellow Councillors, I’ve been fielding many, many emails, calls and enquiries from lots of very passionate locals about the changes to the leases of three of Council’s pools.
Let me say that I have been assured a number of times – and personally checked – that very careful consideration was given to all the tenders Council received.
I’ve also been assured that, in terms of the quality of the services, future plans, proven ability to work with the community and user groups and the aquatic programmes that all the tenderers offered, there was very little difference between them.
However, the crucial point was the difference in price – and that was significant – giving ratepayers an overall saving in excess of $1.9m over the first term of the leases and potentially double that over the full life of the leases.
We all understand that the current operators of the pools – the Hunt Family, Kerri Ann McLaughlin, Mark McLaughlin and Daniel Leaver – are very disappointed that they were not successful and I’m very sympathetic to their distress. I’d like to publicly thank them and Tim Raven at Sawtell, who has recently announced his retirement, for their wonderful work over the years and the passion they’ve shown in the way they ran the pools.
But the bottom line is that, when considering tenders, councils have to abide by the strict State Government legislation and be independent, objective and impartial so that the process is fair to all parties.
I would urge anyone with concerns to contact the State Member Andrew Fraser and ask for his help in getting the NSW Government’s legislation changed to favour local businesses.
Grace Roberts Awards
Nominations are now open for the prestigious Grace Roberts Awards which have been expanded this year to include five new categories.
Council and the Yandaarra Aboriginal Advisory Committee wanted to make sure that we have broader acknowledgement of the achievements and hard work of Coffs Harbour’s Aboriginal community.
So this year, in addition to the main Grace Roberts Award, we will be asking for nominations for Community Organisation or Business of the Year, Academic Achievement, Sporting Achievement, Arts and Cultural Pursuits Achievement and Youth of the Year.
All 2017 award winners will be celebrated at the Grace Roberts Community Development Awards Night at Coffs Harbour Golf Club on Saturday July 1 2017. The event will also mark the official start of NAIDOC Week 2017.
Check out Council’s website for details of how to nominate, or collect a form from Council’s Customer Service Centre in Castle Street or at the Coffs Harbour Local Aboriginal Land Council in Park Avenue.