General News

5 March, 2023

Pool petition handed over

A PETITION containing more than 230 signatures has been presented to Mareeba Shire Council in the hope of lowering the fees, increasing opening times and improving facilities at the Dimbulah swimming pool.

By Robyn Holmes

Pool petition handed over - feature photo

Describing the fees as unacceptable, the petition specifically mentions the cost of the 20 Adult Pool Entry Pass which it claims increased from $20 to $80, without the community being consulted about the price rise.

“Pool fees are the same for Mareeba, Kuranda and Dimbulah Swimming Pools but the services provided are not the same for Dimbulah Swimming Pool,” the petition reads.

“Mareeba and Kuranda Swimming Pools are open seven days a week, all year, from 6am to 6pm. Mareeba Swimming Pool has shade cloth over half the pool and has plans for the Mareeba pool to be heated.”

“The Dimbulah Pool is closed Mondays, open Tuesday to Friday 2pm-6pm, Saturday and Sunday 12pm-5pm. Also the Dimbulah Pool is closed for four months of the year without any community consultation.

“We, the undersigned, request that the in-creased fees for the 20 Adult Pool Entry Pass be re-viewed and reduced – and the Dimbulah Pool have the same opening hours as Mareeba and Kuranda Pools. All three swimming pools are community assets within Mareeba Shire Council and need to be treated equally.”

Lead petitioner Kevin Wallace, who swims at the facility 4-5 times a week, said he was concerned that some people in the community could no longer afford for their children to use the pool.

“I used to see a lot of indigenous kids there all the time but they don’t come now – they can’t afford $3.30 every time they come,” he said.

From 1 January 2022, the fee at Dimbulah Pool for adult entry rose 65 per cent – from $2.80 to $4.30 – while child entry went up from $1.50 to $3.30. Adult entry to Kuranda and Mareeba pools only rose by 30 cents, and a child’s entry by 80 cents. At the time, Mareeba Shire CEO Peter Franks said the Dimbulah fees were being brought into line with other public pools in the shire, noting that due to its operational costs and low patronage, the actual cost of each swim at Dimbulah was $30.

But even though Mr Wallace acknowledges that public pools are costly to run and don’t make money, he believes it is the council’s responsibility to provide an appropriate service to the community.

“Libraries don’t make money either but you still have to provide that service to the community,” he said.

“We are being treated like second-class citizens – if they want to put the fees up to that, then give us all the things the other pools have – shade cloths, hot showers, and decent opening hours.”

A report will be brought back to council on what, if any, options there are to reduce the fees at the pool


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