Concerns have again been raised about the upkeep and condition of the Cleveland Aquatic Centre, with a petitioner claiming pool users are continuing to experience issues at the popular facility despite heavy investment in upgrade works over recent years.
Redland City Council has defended its management of the pool in the wake of public criticism, insisting that it remains committed to ongoing maintenance works at the site and has already budgeted $416,000 for renewal works in the current financial year.
The latest spend adds to a major upgrade completed in 2020, which included new plumbing and electrical works as well as a refurbishment of the children’s pool, centre kiosk and centre-wide painting, decking, tiling and landscaping.
Centre managers Belgravia Leisure, who share the maintenance responsibilities with Redland City Council, also contribute $55,000 annually to maintain aspects of the facility as part of the operating contract.
But Wellington Point resident Debbie Swain said pool users remained dissatisfied with the centre’s condition – including the standard of the showers and toilets – and she was lodging a petition calling on council to improve the quality and availability of all public swimming facilities across the city.
“This petition outlines that I’ve been listening to our community and the hope now is that the outcome from this petition is that Redland City Council in turn listens to their community,” she said.
“We want certainty that council has well-laid forward plans, and funding, to keep the Cleveland Aquatic Centre operating into the future.”
Ms Swain, who was due to present her case during public participation at council’s general meeting on Wednesday, said her petition had received more than 200 signatures in less than two weeks.
Included in her request was for pool entry fees to be lowered, noting that neighbouring Brisbane City Council had already moved to slash general admission charges to $2 for the 2023/24 summer season in response to the cost-of-living crisis.
She also called on council to implement plans for improved access to the Bay Islands Aquatic Centre on Russell Island and urgently undertake a proper aquatic facility needs study for Redlands.
The petition claimed this would help establish the current and likely future requirements of the community and provide a basis for council to update its long term capital works program.
Council said it remained fully committed to the centre’s ongoing maintenance, with a $1.3m major upgrade completed at the site in 2020 and a further $416,000 allocated to renewal works in this year’s budget.
It said a works program for the latest round of improvements was being scheduled, with refurbishments to the toilets, showers and pool entrance forecast to begin before the end of the year.
Council said it was also working closely with Belgravia Leisure to ensure any maintenance issues were identified and addressed.
“Maintenance at the centre is a shared responsibility between council and the centre operator,” council said.
“Council has undertaken annual condition assessments at the centre since 2020 and has continued to invest funds to keep the facility operational until such time as it needs to be replaced.
“This includes a major refurbishment and upgrade completed in 2020, which was supported by a state government COVID Works for Queensland Funding contribution of $830,000.
“Council has no forward plans to close the Cleveland Aquatic Centre.”
Several other improvements have also been undertaken since 2020, such as the installation of additional shade structures, fencing, 50-metre pool heating repairs and a new solar panel system.