Southend Council will warn two feuding swimming clubs to settle their differences or they will be banned from using all public pools in the borough, the Echo can reveal.Good grief!
What are they doing? Is it like the Jets and the Sharks? Are they indulging in water fights?
Failure to do so will see their access to the borough’s £13.5million Swimming & Diving Centre at Garon Park and other public pools withdrawn from January.The council will, will they? And what authority do they have to do this?
The council will then work with the ASA, the swimming governing body, to form a brand new club which will use the 25m pool in Eastern Avenue.
The clubs have about 400 members between them and are two of the most established in the county. They have produced a host of top swimmers over the years, and the council acknowledges the move could see them move out of the borough.*boggle*
But the local authority has run out of patience after using volunteers, council officers and ASA officials to mediate and carry out “protracted negotiations” over the past year.
So, how did all this start?Doesn't seem as though everyone agrees that it's in their best interests, does it?
The clubs were consulted three years ago and agreed their amalgamation was the best way to develop swimming in the borough, from grassroots through to elite level.It seems, though, that they forgot one thing; to get this agreed by their members. And without the agreement and co-operation of their members, how can any club do anything?
They agreed it would result in a streamlining of administration, pooling of resources, a coordinated timetable, and a single, stronger club to represent the borough in competitions...
It was agreed they would begin to operate as a single club when the new Garon Park facility opened in November last year.You can lead a swimmer to water, but you can't make him swim...
But at the pool’s grand opening, swimmers from SOS refused to get in the water with their BOSS counterparts, and instead held up protest posters over plans for joint training sessions.
The council says this move was “for reasons that are difficult to comprehend”.They aren't 'difficult to comprehend' at all. They presumably didn't agree with the decision, and they didn't see why they should be forced to go along with it because the club management and the council thought it was a done deal...
Councillor Derek Jarvis, lead member for culture and tourism, said: “Now they are on notice. If they can find a way to move forward with this then that would be the best thing all round.
“We still really want to work with them to have one club, which will be in the best interests of everyone.”