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Pool numbers jump

Tuesday, 28th January, 2014

Jazz Newman makes a grand exit after conquering the obstacle course. Jazz Newman makes a grand exit after conquering the obstacle course.

By Andrew Robertson

The YMCA says attendance figures at the Aquatic Centre since it took over had “exceeded expectations”.

Around 115,000 people visited the centre from December 2012 to the end of November, according to manager Shane Simmons.

He said that was about 30 per cent more than the previous 12 months, when the centre was run by City Council.

According to a report to Council it was also only slightly short of total attendance in 1989, when the city had three operating pools.

“It exceeded our expectations,” Mr Simmons told the BDT.

He attributed the increase to the YMCA’s focus on families - it now has some 200 family memberships - along with its fee structure and the introduction of new activities.

Pensioners and the elderly were also using the pool in “unprecedented numbers”.

“The numbers are a direct result of the Y’s commitment to families and the centre is developing into a real community hub,” Mr Simmons said.

The organisation has also linked membership of the aquatic centre with its existing Oxide Street centre in a bid to attract people.

“We offer multi site packages that allow people to access both centres.”

The YMCA took over the running of the centre in December 2012, shortly after a multi-million dollar redevelopment. 

Under the deal Council will pay the YMCA almost $3 million over three years. 

Despite the positive results, the YMCA wasn’t completely happy with the start of the current summer season.

In a report it described a 27.4 per cent increase in December’s attendance, compared to the previous year, as disappointing. 

“The figure is slightly disappointing and primarily the unseasonably cooler weather contributed to the result.”   

Council’s general manager Therese Manns said a number of positives had come out of the YMCA’s running of the aquatic centre.

“Patronage far exceeds prior years, more people in the community have been encouraged to get active and more jobs have been created.

“There has been good feedback from the community and based on current trends, it is expected that the strong attendance will continue.

“The YMCA should be congratulated on their efforts.”

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