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Council urges new Maclean Pool contractors be given an opportunity

The public reaction to the granting of a lease to maintain the Maclean Pool showed how much people appreciated the work of the former tenants, but also showed a lack of understanding of the tendering process, according to Richie Williamson, Mayor of Clarence Valley.

At their ordinary session last week, Clarence Valley City Councils voted 8-1 for a tender from Glenreagh’s Valley Pool Services to manage and operate the Maclean Pool. This ended 39 years of uninterrupted involvement by former operators John and Robyn Clarke.

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Cr Williamson said the councilors have only positive things to say about the Clarkes and are grateful for the great job they have done over such a long period of time.

“Interest payers also expect us to spend our money efficiently. In the case of swimming pool management, this means that these contracts are put out to tender,” he said.

“In our community consultation we are repeatedly told that people want things to be done as efficiently as possible.

“And that’s exactly what we did here. We selected the most competitive tender through a competitive tendering process. These types of decisions are always difficult for city councils to make.

“I also appreciate that it is difficult for the public to get a complete picture. Since the tender documents of unsuccessful applicants must be kept confidential, it is difficult for the public to get the full information.

“I can say, however, that the interest payers get significant cost savings in the tender that we accepted.”

Scott Greensill, general manager of the council, said running swimming pools was an important function of the council, but with public swimming pools in Yamba, Maclean, Ulmarra, Grafton, South Grafton and Glenreagh, it was a heavy burden on interest payers.

“The community has told us that they want to keep each of these pools open, so we need to find the most cost-effective way to do this,” he said.

“The tendering process is fair and transparent.

“We went through this process and the city councils awarded the contract to the applicant who they believed was the best value for money.

“People should be ready to give them a chance. Valley Pool Services is a local company that operates the Glenreagh Pool and 25m Orara Valley Pool in Nana Glen.

“I’ve seen some comments from people saying they wouldn’t use the pool because they won the tender. That seems like an attempt to penalize the new operators just because they were successful.”

The tendering process

Open tenders were advertised on May 27, 2014 and closed on June 24, 2014 in accordance with Local Government Ordinance 2005 (general).

Three companies in the Clarence Valley Council area submitted tender documents.

A tender evaluation committee, consisting of three council officials, met on June 25 and determined that all applicants met the tender requirements.

The bids were evaluated on the basis of a price: non-price criteria on a 60:40 basis according to the terms of the tender.

Non-price criteria were considered first and Valley Pool Services scored the highest.

Valley Pool Services was also the lowest price.

The tender evaluation committee prepared a report to the council members for consideration at its July 8th committee meeting. This report had confidential attachments for council members to use to compare prices.

On July 15, the entire council voted 8: 1 to accept Valley Pool Services’ tender.