Council to retender for aquatic centres management

Port Macquarie-Hastings

Port Macquarie-Hastings Council and BlueFit have made the joint difficult decision to terminate the current agreement in place for the management of the local aquatic and leisure centres in Port Macquarie, Laurieton, Wauchope and Kendall.

Citing the impact fires, floods and of Covid-19 on the leisure industry as a whole, BlueFit made the initial approach to Council

BlueFit was awarded the management of the Port Macquarie-Hastings community aquatic facilities in 2019 following a competitive tender process.

But the unforeseen economic impacts of COVID-19, and the ramifications that this has had particularly on the leisure and aquatic industry, has today resulted in Council and BlueFit mutually agreeing to part ways from the current agreement.

Council will re-advertise for tenders prior to the end of the year, with a view to awarding a new contract in March 2022.

In the meantime, BlueFit will continue to manage the operation of Council’s leisure centres at Port Macquarie, Wauchope, Laurieton and Kendall over summer with the view to minimise any disruption to member services or the delivery of pool programming, even if a transition of management is forthcoming.

Updates for members will continue to be provided through BlueFit’s monthly eNews.

BlueFit CEO Todd McHardy said the shutdown of the leisure and aquatic industry through COVID-19 had put significant financial pressure on the company’s local operations.

“COVID has had an enormous impact on the Australian community leisure industry,” Mr McHardy said.

“We have been first to close and last to open, and have fallen short on many industry specific support packages. This has led to a drop in patronage, recruitment issues and plenty of distraction from our normal business of Inspiring Community Activity.”

Despite the challenges, he said the company has built an outstanding team who have been wonderful ambassadors for BlueFit.

He also reiterated that BlueFit’s departure from the current agreement will have no impact on pool users with centres remaining open.

“We have built an outstanding local team, managed well by Jodie Buttsworth,” he said.

“Alongside Jodie, the team consisting of Shauna, Courtney, Sue, Dave, Steve and Glenn have been fantastic, serving the aquatic community well, providing safe and friendly service.

“We are completely committed to ensuring the smooth transition of employment for our valued local team if one is required. While we appreciate this is not an ideal situation, we remain committed to all programs and community groups.

“This situation has had unintended consequences on the coaching program for the Port Macquarie Swimming Club, but we are working very hard to find a solution for what now becomes an interim period of sorts.

“We apologise to the club for the situation we find ourselves in.”

Council’s Group Manager Recreation, Buildings and Community, Lucilla Marshall, thanked BlueFit for their service.

“As an organisation which has faced its own challenges with COVID-19, Council is sympathetic to BlueFit’s situation,” Ms Marshall said.

“We are thankful to them for the services they have provided, and we look forward to building a relationship with the successful tenderer from early 2022 onwards.”

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