Pool lane charges opposed

A Dunedin swimming coach has made an impassioned plea for the council to scale back a proposed lane charge for swimmers training at Moana Pool.

Dunedin City Council staff had estimated the charge - $5 per lane per hour for professional swim coaches and swim clubs with exclusive use of lanes - would generate about $45,000 annually.

But Andy Adair said the charge would be a "huge impost" on young swimmers.

"I am not opposed to the idea, but the charge is way, way too high," Mr Adair, who has been contracted by the council to provide professional swim coaching at Moana Pool since 2004, said.

His programme used 560 lane-hours a week for 47 weeks a year, meaning charges of $26,320 which would have to be shared among about 70 families.

Another swim coach had told him his costs would be $23,000, while the swim clubs estimated between $15,000 and $20,000 a year each, Mr Adair said.

There was no way coaches and clubs could absorb the fees and they would have to be passed on to swimmers, he said.

Charges for Mr Adair's elite swimmers, who trained for 22 hours a week, would have to rise from $1730 a year to $2448, while the increase for his youngest swimmers would be $116 a year.

The charge would result in young people giving up swimming, he said. "It is a cliché, but it is true - kids in sport are not in court. These young swimmers are dedicated sons and daughters of Dunedin."

Asked by Cr Jinty MacTavish what fees he thought would be acceptable, Mr Adair said $3 per lane per training session of up to one and a-half hours.

 

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