Snowy Valley Council pleads 'misunderstanding' after residents receive calls advising swimming lessons will be cut

NO CUTS: Swimming lessons across the Snowy Valley Council will be retained after a council 'misunderstanding' over cuts to staffing hours sparked outrage in the community.
NO CUTS: Swimming lessons across the Snowy Valley Council will be retained after a council 'misunderstanding' over cuts to staffing hours sparked outrage in the community.

Tumut residents have made a splash after alleging Snowy Valley Council tried to cut its swimming lesson program for the 2017/18 summer.

It follows Snowy Valley Council’s decision to trial free entry across all five community pools in the region for a 12 month period.

The trial has drawn more visitors through the gates, however, residents last week began abruptly receiving calls from council staff saying the swimming lesson program was no more.

“A few friends of mine received calls from council staff on Friday telling them all lessons would be cancelled and that admin were cutting swimming teacher hours back,” said Tumut resident Jayson Withers.

“Apparently, their justification was that staff would be better used as lifeguards.”

Mr Withers has been taking his children for swimming lessons at council pools for the past three years and couldn’t believe council would even consider scrapping the program.

“Obviously they’ve had an increase of people going to the pool with the free entry and could be under some budget restraints but swimming staff were distraught,” he said.

“It’s so hard to get good instructors out here and council essentially tried to cut one of the most precious life skills, in my opinion.”

Snowy Valley Council has since released a statement about last week’s “misunderstanding”.

“Unfortunately, a misunderstanding within the council organisation has resulted in many community members being contacted across the weekend advising that pool programs have been cancelled,” the statement reads.

“This is not the case and we apologise sincerely for the confusion and inconvenience that this may have caused.

“The program is a valuable and important service provided to the community and will continue to be supported by Council.”

Director of assets and infrastructure Matt Christensen was contacted for comment.