Resident Bill Hackney hasn't been for a swim in the Calliope State School pool all summer.
Resident Bill Hackney hasn't been for a swim in the Calliope State School pool all summer.

Anger as school fails to find operator for pool

Bill Hackney walks past the Calliope State School pool almost every day, and with two thirds of summer gone, he's yet to take a dip.

"It's stinking hot now, there's a beautiful pool, and you can't use it," the 75-year-old said.

The problem is finding a suitable operator.

The Department of Education response is there is no one to run it.

A department spokesperson said after three tender processes the department and the school had failed to find a qualified, suitable operator to open the pool for public use outside school hours.

For Mr Hackney, the closure made finding ways to ­exercise extremely challenging.

Formerly a keen runner, the side effects of chemotherapy medication made that type of high impact exercise off limits.

"That's why I really rely on the pool," he said.

A former pool operator himself, Mr Hackney said he wished he could run it for the community, but his health made it all but impossible.

"I wish I could do it again, but if someone got in trouble down the end of the pool I'd have to yell out. I don't make house calls," he said.

He loved his time keeping an eye on the swimmers when he was in charge about 10 years ago.

"There were some funny kids, I wouldn't allow any of them to do backflips," he said.

"One day all the kids got together, stood on the blocks and waited 'till I was watching, then turned around and did a backflip, all six of them."

On that occasion he didn't have to say anything.

'They all got their towels and said 'yeah I know, Bill, we're going'," he said.

The Department of Education confirmed the pool has gone through a number of upgrades recently, including converting from chlorine to saltwater, and that information regarding the next tender process "will be advertised at a later date".

"The department and Calliope State School welcome the opportunity for suitably qualified operators to submit a tender response for leasing of the pool for 2020 and future swimming seasons," they said.