RUSSELL Island residents have been told access to the island’s pool will not change after Redland City Council hands ownership of the pool to the state government on July 1 next year.
The $1.04million pool, on council land on Borrows street next to the Russell Island State School, will be transferred to Education Queensland as part of a deal signed on May 3, 2007.
Under that deal, council paid $930,000 and the state $110,000 to build the 25m outdoor pool, which was managed by council for five years before it, and the council land, was to be handed to the state.
An officer report, tabled at this morning’s full council meeting, said after the transfer, the public would have “at least equal use” of the pool with the school.
The report said council met Russell Island State School principal David Anderson and Education Queensland representatives and both agreed to involve the community in the pool’s ongoing management.
Island resident Jo Dickson raised concerns about community access to the pool at a meeting with Division 5 councillor Mark Edwards, officers and Mr Anderson last month.
More than 120 island residents signed her petition lobbying the council to keep the pool open for public use after the handover.
"I don't mind who runs the pool as long as it stays accessible to the public," Ms Dickson said.
"The pool is important to residents and ratepayers who contributed to its construction through their rates but I believe the community can work out a better way to use it and promote it.
"Now that Education Queensland will take over management from YMCA, there is the opportunity to learn from past mistakes and make improvements."
Cr Edwards agreed and told this morning’s meeting he wanted to establish a community management committee to ensure continued and optimised public use of the pool.
He said the pool was an important asset for the community, which had contributed to its construction through their rates.
“I want council to set up a management structure to take over management of the pool before the transfer takes place so, over time, the pool can decrease dependency on payments from council and try to make it more profitable,” Cr Edwards said.
“Now we have free inter-island ferries, there’s an opportunity for the Russell Island pool to attract people from other islands.”
Council decided not to alter an $80,000 allocation in the 2013-14 budget for ongoing management of the pool until it is handed over.