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Pool report makes a splash

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A review into the performance of Maitland’s aquatic centres has made quite a splash after it revealed more than 210,000 people poured through the turnstiles over the past financial year alone.

The document, which was discussed at Maitland council’s latest meeting this month, noted the Maitland and East Maitland centres had performed well amid a period of change, largely due to the construction and subsequent unveiling of a $9.7 million, 25-metre indoor pool in July 2017.

The report showed a steady increase in attendance figures at Maitland, jumping from 99,230 in the 2014/15 financial year to 170,376 in 2017/18.

East Maitland attracted 43,086 visitors in 2014/15, which rose to 50,965 in 2016/17, but dipped to 40,035 in 2017/18.

The council’s manager of community and recreation, Laurie D’Angelo, said a key focus of the review was to reflect on how the indoor pool had performed in its first full year.

“When we looked at that across the industry benchmarking, it was really positive – there was a high attendance rate,” she said.

“So, based on that, and the opportunity to even enhance the service offered for a facility that is already popular, council decided to maintain the management of the pools.

“[This] is fantastic because it means we can now have a look at other opportunities.

“Maitland pool has been very popular with the indoor pool coming on board and we’ve got waterplay activities like the splashpad, which is a real hit with families,” she said.
“But, the benefit of East Maitland is you’ve got these beautiful grassy surrounds and lovely open space for people to come and have a picnic.

“So, what we’ll be looking at is how we can enhance that – it might be through family picnic days and a range of different activities that really lend itself to each of the venues.”

Apart from attendance figures, the report also revealed both pools’ financial performances. Maitland’s operational income in 2017/18 was $967,568, while its expenditure was $1,382,485.

This meant its cost recovery was 70%.

In contrast, East Maitland had an operational income of $158,916 and an expenditure of $426,861, which amounted to a cost recovery of 37% for the same period.

The report targeted an increase in cost recovery to over 80% and 40% respectively via more effective rostering and permanent staffing, combined with an increase in programming.

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