Mareeba Shire Council has entered negotiations for the lease to operate and manage the Mareeba, Dimbulah and Kuranda aquatic facilities and the Dimbulah Caravan Park for the next three (3) years.
With the existing leases coming to an end on 31 August 2021, Council must appoint a lessee to enable the pools and Dimbulah Caravan Park to remain open to the public from 1 September 2021.
Mayor Angela Toppin explained, “After an initial Expression of Interest process, Council assessed two responses to the tender. One tender from the current lessees, Cotter’s Aquatic Swim and Fitness being for a one-year lease of the Dimbulah Swimming Pool and Caravan Park only; and the other from Jason and Donna Salecich (Keelwater Pty Ltd) for a three-year lease to operate and manage all three swimming pools and the Dimbulah Caravan Park.”
Council has resolved to enter a contract with Keelwater Pty Ltd, and Councillor Toppin acknowledges that this is a change for the community.
“Cotter’s Aquatics have been the lessee at the Mareeba and Kuranda pools since 2008 and took on the lease at the Dimbulah pool and caravan park in 2019. June and Syd are well respected within our communities and have delivered these important services well in that time.”
Keelwater is an established business, currently based in Cairns, having operated Woree Sports and Aquatic Centre under an arrangement with Cairns Regional Council since 2013. Jason Salecich of Keelwater has extensive professional experience in working with community clubs, and operated Mareeba Leagues Club from 1998 to 2003. Keelwater has also been heavily involved in the Cairns Stingrays Swimming Club.
“Council considered the tenders from Cotter’s and Keelwater, both established and suitably qualified operators, however, the appointment of a single lessee for all four facilities is expected to result in improved efficiencies and a consistent approach to the management of these community assets. Council assesses value for money, the administrative requirements of the proposals and the responsibilities that are proposed for both Council and the tenderer,” Mayor Toppin said.
The proposal by Keelwater is expected to deliver a positive experience for current and new pool users and the Council expects that through the continuation of Learn to Swim classes, and by working with the clubs and user groups the utilisation of the facilities will continue to grow.
“The Council’s pools are a significant resource to our community and the arrangement with Keelwater is expected to result in benefits to pool users.”