Eden pool use on rise, but council not yet releasing numbers

A young swimmer competes in an Eden Swimming Club event at Eden Olympic Pool on Saturday, February 4.
A young swimmer competes in an Eden Swimming Club event at Eden Olympic Pool on Saturday, February 4.

Eden Olympic Pool has seen an increase in patronage this summer, but a decision on its future will not be made until after April. 

Bega Valley Shire Council is remaining tight-lipped on exact attendance numbers, but says it is “happy more people seem to be enjoying Eden pool this summer.”

“One of the real stand outs has been the success of the learn to swim classes, with 32 kids going through this year’s program,” a council spokesperson said late last week.

“We didn’t get the numbers needed to run that program last year – so a great result.

“We have also seen the pool being used for events like movie screenings, which adds great life to the pool and adds ‘depth’ to how the community sees the space.

“It was also great to see the Eden Swimming Club host a successful carnival [Saturday, February 4], bringing around 50 swimmers and their families to town from as far afield as Cooma and Moruya,” the spokesperson said.

While the council has confirmed its staff has been collecting pool attendance numbers and other information at all six pools across the shire, it says it is “too early” to publicly release them.

“It’s still too early to give [out] hard numbers because without the February figures it’s not the full picture,” the spokesperson said.

“We will be reviewing how the season went at all pools at the season’s end and putting the data together for a report to council in April.”

The Magnet reported in August last year that Eden’s pool could face closure on the back of declining patronage and high subsidies by council.

A council-commissioned report by Brisbane-based consultants, Otium Planning Group, found that Eden pool had low and declining patronage and the second highest level of council subsidy per patron visit of all the shire’s pools.

The subsidy rate per visit at Eden pool was $17.28, compared with $22.89 at Bemboka’s pool, $12.69 at Candelo, $8.62 at Bega, $7.14 at Cobargo and $3.98 at the Sapphire Aquatic Centre in Pambula.

The 84-page Aquatic Facilities Review included five specific recommendations for Eden pool including that: “Should council be unable to arrange and/or service finance costs for the redevelopment of Bega War Memorial Pool, or the overall net cost to council of operating all pools be unsustainable, and/or the council subsidy per visit at Eden pool increases, closure of Eden pool should be considered.”