CBay to sink or swim on targets

RHONDA MARKBY
Last updated 05:00 01/12/2012

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About 500 swimmers a day are using the new CBay Aquatic Centre, well down on the 700 needed for the centre to meet its budget.

Nevertheless, council staff still say the business is "tracking well".

While council managers Sharon Matson and Ashley Harper report to the council's district services committee every six weeks, they have not been providing financial figures for the centre.

"It is too soon to formulate a trend on operating costs and revenues," this week's report said. "However, for swim school, we are tracking ahead of expectation.

"Overall financial targets are where we budgeted them to be."

Costs would have "settled down" and they would have a better idea of how close they were to the projected budget by March, when councillors would start on the 2013-14 budget, Mr Harper said. Also there had been only one school holiday period so far.

More than 3700 children and preschoolers, and 1600 adults, swam at the pool in the first week of the October school holidays.

The centre is expected to cost $4 million a year to run, with half that cost offset by profits from the swim school and gym.

Figures provided to the Herald by Mrs Matson show almost 47,500 people swam at CBay in the three months from August till October. That equated to just over 500 swimmers a day, excluding the 1000 children enrolled in the swim-school programmes.

During the three months, 8421 people used the hydroslide and 5773 paid to use the adult-only chillax area. Aqua fit and aqua gentle classes have attracted 547 paying participants.

Those who have bought premium gym memberships do not pay extra to swim, use the chillax area or attend aqua classes.

Plans are under way to offer the Swim for Life learn to swim and survival programme to primary-school-aged students, with the support of Water Safety New Zealand.

Heating of the 50-metre outdoor pool had started after its $300,000 revamp. Integrating the outdoor pool was expected to present its own challenges, but staff were preparing for those, this week's report to council noted.

A "minor issue" with one of the boilers meant the programme pool was closed yesterday and might not be up to temperature today. Mrs Matson said the pool was only at 30 degrees Celsius yesterday rather than the usual 32C.

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- The Timaru Herald

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