NEW arrangements are now in place for four of the five pools owned by Newcastle City Council, with the majority handed over to a private company to run.
After last week's council meeting held behind closed doors, Lambton, Wallsend and Mayfield pools will be handed over to Queensland-based company Lane 4 Aquatics under a five-year lease.
Stockton pool will also be run by Lane 4 Aquatics under a three-year release, with its expiry date the same as Stockton tourist park.
Newcastle council will hold on to Beresfield pool for another year, to review attendance figures until the end of the summer season.
The news was not welcomed by union members at Newcastle council, who held a meeting in Civic Park last week.
A unanimous vote of no confidence was passed in the overall management of Newcastle council and with general manager Ken Gouldthorp.
The union has written to the general manager with a list of concerns and will meet again today, Wednesday, July 30, at the No. 1 Sportsground to discuss the council's response.
Newcastle council's infrastructure director Frank Cordingley said the eight permanent council staff affected by the change were briefed about the new arrangements.
He said Newcastle council was following in the footsteps of other local councils around the country, which were looking at alternative and cost-effective ways to deliver services.
The council runs the pools at an annual cost of $1.9 million.
The total operating cost for the pools is $3.1 million, which includes $1.2 million for labour and maintenance, with an estimated pool income for this year to be $1.2 million.
Lane 4 Aquatics managing director Daniel Mulvey said the company was still going through the contract process with Newcastle council and was not able to comment on any possible changes to the pools at this stage, but was "extremely excited to work with the Newcastle community for the next five years".
Newcastle council stipulated as part of the agreement that the pools were to become sustainable through short, medium and long-term planning.