AFTER community outrage, arguments between local and state representatives and an extensive campaign by the Daily Mercury, news has finally come that the Sarina pool will be open for the school holidays.
Education Minister Kate Jones announced today that the State Government and Mackay Regional Council were working together to ensure the entire community could make the best possible use of the pool into the future.
“As the weather is heating up it’s great news the pool will be open to the community for the holidays,” she said.
“We know the Mackay Regional Council, the Department of Education and the Sarina community supported the development of the school pool through fundraising and collaboration.
“It’s important that everyone in Sarina is able to enjoy this community facility.”
>>>READ MORE: Sarina pool saga at boiling point
Ms Jones said the Department of Education would progress a new lease agreement with Mackay Regional Council that secures availability of the pool for community use.
“I am confident that we will find a way forward to resolve the long-term leasing arrangements,” she said.
“One of the sticking points has been balancing school use and the interests of students with community access to the pool.”
As the access is during school holidays, that “sticking point” won’t be an issue but will still have to be resolved in the new lease.
Member for Mirani Jim Pearce said he was pleased to facilitate the cooperative negotiations between the Mackay Regional Council and the Department of Education.
“Our community has contributed a lot towards this pool so I am pleased to see the people of Sarina will have ongoing access to this great local facility,” Mr Pearce said.
Mackay Mayor Greg Williamson said he appreciated the announcement that council could continue to operate the pool during the school holidays
Cr Williamson said it was a major boost for the community to have the facility open so families could enjoy the September holidays.
“We will continue to work with the department in coming weeks on exact details of short and long term operating arrangements,” he said
Cr Williamson said the CEO has had productive discussions with department officials this week.
“All parties have a clear desire to resolve the matter for the benefit of the community,” he said.