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Rec centre operator loses contract

By Don Farmer

[email protected]

The company which has run Masterton’s Genesis Recreation Centre since it opened 13 years ago has lost the contract to continue doing so.

Community Leisure Management (CLM), a private company with its administrative base in Auckland, tendered to carry on but was not even short-listed when tenders closed with Masterton District Council.

The result has left the company “extremely disappointed”, with the general manager saying they will do what they can to place as many staff as possible with the new employer when their contract ends in April.

It is not yet known exactly how the move will affect rec centre users, but those with memberships may be able to “roll over” subscriptions or get a refund.

A “leading independent procurement expert” is now formally helping the council with the tender process, which will result in the two remaining short-listed tenderers being put through their paces before council decides next month on who will get the job.

Another option could see the council taking over the running of the centre itself.

CLM has had a contract to run the pool complex and a separate lease on the room which houses CLM Health and Fitness Gym.

Both will be lost to the company in April.

Council chief executive Pim Borren said CLM originally signed up for three years in 2003 and since then the contract had been rolled over on three occasions without a formal review.

Law changes have now made it compulsory for all contracts to be reviewed within two years of expiry, and this led to a “robust process” in September last year that resulted in CLM losing the contract.

Mr Borren said while there would inevitably be a direct impact on CLM staff, it was not expected that employment in Masterton “as a whole “would be affected.

The CLM contract expired in 2016 but at their request this was extended for a year, which would have taken the term to the end of this month.

CLM then requested, and was given, an extension to remain running the complex until the end of April, but that will be the end of the company’s involvement.

No explanation as to why CLM was not short-listed has been given although council spokesman Sam Rossiter-Stead said a “level playing field” had been provided for all those wanting to tender for the role.

Council officers had examined the tenders but the final decision on who won the contract would be made by councillors, probably at a meeting in February.

Equipment in the gym belongs to CLM and it would be over to the new contractors to supply gym equipment.

It is thought those who have paid gym subscriptions would either get a refund of the unused portion of their membership, or the subscriptions may be able to roll over.

Managing director of CLM John Latimer said the company was “extremely disappointed” to miss out at tender.

He said the council had offered no explanation whatsoever for not including CLM on the short list, and the company had no reason to believe there had been any dissatisfaction with the work being carried out there.

“Community surveys done on behalf of the council have shown a very high level of customer satisfaction with the rec centre,” Mr Latimer said.

He revealed CLM had been “trying to get around the table” with councillors to present a plan to invest $1 million in the rec centre, building a zero-depth play area at no cost to Masterton ratepayers.

This would provide a series of water-based attractions for youngsters, similar to those at the Lido complex in Palmerston North.

“It is very safe and very colourful, and part of our frustration at losing the contract is that we will never get the chance to put this proposal forward,” Mr Latimer said.

He said he was hoping he would be fully briefed by the council as to why CLM’s tender had been rejected as he thought the company had put in a strong proposal.

As far as rec centre staff were concerned Mr Latimer said the company was “anxious” to work with whoever was now awarded the contract, to place as many staff as possible with the new employer.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Not suprized at all,my ex wife worked there and was made a lifeguard with no training whatsoever. She didnt even know what a drowning person looked like.

  2. Noooooo the gym is my escape from reality and my natural happy drug…..this is heart breaking news ???

Comments are closed.

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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