Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Affording the swimming pool of despair

Cllr Ursell was going on about a the front page of the previous months Lovely Moon. He said:

"Call me cynical. Is it just a coincidance that the "Lovely Moon" publication blaming HDC (which is Conservative controlled) came out just before the election especially as the editor is Ted Bruning who I suspect is the the same Ted Bruning who was standing for town council in Eynesbury Ward as a Liberal Democrat canditate. If it is true then no wonder the article was biased against HDC. Its deplorable that, if true, a Liberal democrat candidate should try and mislead the general public by this sort of election tactic."

In this months Lovely Moon there is an article quoting  Cllr Ursell. Cllr Ursell is standing for Town Coucil elections on 9th June 2011. The article is below:
What Cllr Ursell does say does raise one question. How will a new open air swimming pool actually be self-sufficient? With £1.75 million in the bank their shouldn't be much to worry about. Once all the construction costs have been taken out there won't be much left. According to Cllr Ursell the old Outdoor Swimming Pool lost £30,000 a year. In truth all pools lose money and need public subsidy in one measure or another. People won't pay the actual cost of swimming.

Eversholt which has an open air swimming pool relies on fundraising to keep the pool open. In financial terms there are a few points to consider:

1. Renewal. The pool will need renewing or a major overhaul in roughly 20 years. If it cost say £1 million to construct this would mean a pool would need roughly £2 million in 20 years time, if not more.
So a "financially self-sufficient" pool needs to put £100,000 a year aside for renewal. 

2. £1.75 million seems alot of money. Take a million off for contruction and the trust is left with £750,000. With interest of 5% this would bring in £37,500 a year. Just enough to cover the losses.

3. The old pool was seasonal. Opening up the pool for the whole year brings with it higher staffing costs, management and utilities not to mention higher costs of maintenance. 

4. What else could the Trust do? There is an idea of a wave machine that surfers could use. But how much profit would a machine like this actually bring in? I have no idea. Nor, I suspect, does Cllr Ursell or the Trust. There have been hints of having a gym. But this won't make any money. 

Whatever the outcome any outdoor swimming pool would need public subsidy to make it a going concern. Either subsidise the running costs or put money aside for pool renewal. £1.75 million sounds alot of money but it isn't. To make this pool self sufficient the amount needs to be closer to £5 million rather than £1.75 million. As with the titchy cinema St Neots will end up with a paddling pool.

No comments: