Note: The bigger story here is probably that more staff cut backs will be taking place at the City of Greater Geraldton in the coming months. But as various cuts to city expenses rolls out, residents start to notice that their particular beloved service is under threat. EG will have more on the City budget and changes around the city in the near future.
Cost cutting results in closure of Aquarena creche... but hopefully not forever
Everything Geraldton recently received a copy of an open letter to the CGG council and CEO, from a concerned resident regarding the future of the creche at Aquarena, Geraldton's public swimming pool, after hearing the creche was shutting down.
To the CEO, Mayor and all Councillors,
I am a mother of two children, aged 4 and 2.
We love living in Geraldton and we love going to the Aquarena.
Last week, it was brought to my attention that the creche at the Aquarena might close at the end of the current term, which is in less than two weeks.
I hope this is not true, as this would cause great angst to myself and many other mothers.
I use the Aquarena weekly to exercise and keep fit and healthy.
Without the creche, I wouldn’t be able to do that anymore, as the cost and time involved for me to hire a babysitter would be far too expensive.
Losing the fantastic service of the creche will also have further consequences for myself and many others.
We won’t be able to enrole our children in swimming classes due to having to supervise other younger children. Therefore a loss in revenue for swimming classes could be expected.
At the Aquarena, families meet and spend time enjoying the cafe and shop at the pool, which wouldn’t happen anymore, resulting in a loss of social interaction and lifestlye in Geraldton.
The creche is an essential component of the Aquarena and keeping it running at an affordable cost is of great benefit to many people, and also essential to the sustainability of operating a community service.
I look forward to a positive response from you regarding this matter.
Geraldton Resident and Mum.
Should rate payers be funding babysitting for other people?
The City of Greater Geraldton CEO, Ken Diehm, responded regarding the matter, saying the closure of the creche was part of wider cut backs, aimed at reducing the $7million deficit the city runs.
"The Aquarena is a key public service provided by the City," said Mr Diehm. "However it costs the City approximately $1million dollars a year to keep its doors open. The Aquarena however needs to contribute to the required savings and hence the service delivery model for the crèche is being changed. The Aquarena crèche, as it is currently run with Council officers, will cease on 9 April 2016."
But it's not all bad news for creche users, with Mr Diehm saying the city will be reaching out to the private sector in the future to run the creche.
"The Aquarena will be looking at external private opportunities to facilitate this service and will be seeking expressions of interest in the near future from commercial providers and educators to continue the operations,” said Mr Diehm.
Mr Diehm also said there will be a reduction in staff numbers throughout the City of Greater Geraldton.