Riverstone pool fees rise 450%

 A pool hire price hike of 450 per cent could sink swim clubs at Riverstone pool.

Riverstone Dolphins RSL Youth Swimming Club may not get off the starter’s block in October if the proposed hike by Blacktown Council from $66 an hour to $300 goes ahead.

The club has 200 members and celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.

Improvements made to Riverstone pool in that time have been through fundraising or paid for by the club.

The club charges swimmers and spectators $1 each to attend weekly meets, which will go up a minimum of $5 a person, and as much as $10 in bad weather, to cover costs.

‘‘We will cease to exist,’’ assistant secretary Karen Mellenbergh said. ‘‘It used to cost the club $2000 to hire the pool for 46 hours a year,’’ she said.

‘‘Now it will cost $12,000.’’

The club prides itself on making swimming affordable.

‘‘We’re not here to make a profit,’’ founding member Peter Uphill said.

‘‘We’re a long way from the beach and are here to encourage children to be part of the community.

‘‘All the council wants to do is force clubs out.’’

At last week’s meeting, Liberal councillor Jacqueline Donaldson said the fees needed to be put into perspective.

‘‘This is a $4 increase.

‘‘Going to the movies costs a lot more than $4,’’ she said.

Independent Russ Dickens gave Labor his vote to call for an urgent report to review the case.

Rescue mission: The Riverstone community has rallied together to save Riverstone Dolphins RSL Youth Swimming Club. ‘‘The council has lost touch with its ratepayers needs and wants,’’ Karen Mellenbergh said. Picture: Helen Nezdropa

Rescue mission: The Riverstone community has rallied together to save Riverstone Dolphins RSL Youth Swimming Club. ‘‘The council has lost touch with its ratepayers needs and wants,’’ Karen Mellenbergh said. Picture: Helen Nezdropa

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