Swimmers splutter at surge in fees

Swim Club Emerton hopes fees don't go up by 126 per cent. Picture: Geoff Jones

Swim Club Emerton hopes fees don't go up by 126 per cent. Picture: Geoff Jones

THERE are fears Swim Club Emerton membership may sink under a proposed 126 per cent rise in pool fees.

Club president Scott Stubbs has been in positive talks with Blacktown Council officers about the proposed rise and hoped the matter would be resolved in the coming weeks.

He urged the council to reconsider its proposed fee structure for Blacktown City aquatic centres.

A 20-visit pass for junior members, which lasts five weeks, would go up from $82 to $185.60.

Mr Stubbs said monthly fees for swim squads at Ripples Leisure Centre, Blacktown and Sydney Olympic Park aquatic centres were substantially lower, ranging from $73 to $128.

"Their squads are run through the swim club and not by the council," he said.

"A 126 per cent rise would have an affect on our membership. Swimmers would leave and go elsewhere because it's cheaper."

He said Emerton Leisure Centre patrons were different to those who go to Stanhope Gardens.

The median household income for Stanhope Gardens is $2140 a week, compared to $825 for Emerton.

Unemployment in Stanhope Gardens is 3.9 per cent, compared to 13.6 per cent in Emerton.

"The socioeconomic demographic of the areas hasn't been taken into account," he said.

Mr Stubbs proposed a 10 per cent rise or a tiered pricing system based on the number of visits as a reasonable compromise.

"Being realistic, no change in our fees wasn't going to happen," he said. "All we're asking is for some help with our squad pricing."

■ Should there be a standard blanket fee for all aquatic centres? Comment at stmarysstar.com.au.

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