Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Aqua Therapy’

F.C.A.T.A. Update – 23rd Sept 2011

FCATA
F.C.A.T.A. Update – 23rd Sept 2011 …
FCATA LogoThis months update is more of the same I’m afraid. To try and lift the profile of the FCATA in a direct way with Councillors and try to have them engage – I attended the Maryborough Council meeting on the 17th Aug and again attended the Hervey Bay Meeting on the 7th Sept. The Council Minutes reflect the address I gave during the public participation as follows:

Minutes of the FCRC Ordinary Meeting No. 15
held on Wednesday 17 August 2011 Page 4
ORD 7 PUBLIC PARTICIPATION
ORD 7.4 Hervey Bay Aquatic Centre

Ian Bleys, 43 Wide Bay Drive, Eli Waters
Mr Bleys addressed Council on his support for the action being taken at the meeting to reduce admission fees at the Hervey Bay Aquatic Centre. He said that this region had approximately 5,500 disability pensioners and believed it to be the highest in Queensland. He sought Council’s support to use the Hervey Bay Aquatic Centre for aqua therapy sessions to help people with disabilities improve their quality of life.

________________________________________

Minutes of the FCRC Ordinary Meeting No. 16
held on Wednesday 7 September 2011 Page 4
ORD 7 PUBLIC PARTICIPATION
ORD 7.3 Fraser Coast Aqua Therapy Association

Mr Ian Bleys, Fraser Coast Aqua Therapy Association referred to a proposal regarding the Fraser Coast Aqua Therapy Association which had been sent to the Chief Executive Officer and Councillors, and said a reply was still awaited regarding this matter and the proposed programme which would be beneficial to disabled people.

These minutes are but a fraction of what was said and don’t fully reflect what I was trying to say in both my address’ – I don’t know who vets these minutes but they do a very poor job on accuracy and content.

After the 17th Aug Meeting I received a visit from Councillor Hawes – no other Councillor of Council staff made contact. Ms Hawes is a genuine soul and she does have some appreciation for the intent of the program. I appreciate her support.

In pursuing the Council I sent Ms Desmond the following e-mail message on the 29th Aug as a followup to the Council address –

From: Fraser Coast Aqua Therapy Assoc [mailto:fcata@bigpond.com]
Sent: Monday, 29 August 2011 1:26 PM
To: Lisa DESMOND (Lisa.Desmond@frasercoast.qld.gov.au)
Cc: All-Councillors@frasercoast.qld.gov.au; Chris FOLEY; Ted SORENSEN;Mr Paul Neville
Subject: FCATA Pool Admission arrangements

Dear Ms Desmond,

I refer to the e-mail exchanges we had prior to the Council Meeting held on the 17th Aug and the concession admission process submission presented at that meeting.

In those message messages sent to you – and previous messages – I asked a number of questions you still have not responded to – can I please have some answers?

Specifically – I had ask if you followed up with Gladstone Council as you said you would in our July conversation about their GATA program and their free admission for all concession card holders between 8-9am Mon – Fri?

And – the question on 7:30-9:00 am ‘free’ access to the pool for FCATA members in line with the GATA concessions granted by the Gladstone City Council – where the FCATA pay Council a part of the FCATA membership fee for that access – what progress has been made on this issue?

The safety upgrades necessary – has any progress been made to have them addressed?

Have you pressed the Amenities upgrades necessary to the expenditures allocations Committees you indicated would have review any specific needs required to address the Aqua Therapy requirements – if you recall you indicated those meeting are about to take place around this time of year –

This Council has taken well over two years to address the disability access raised – how long before Council addresses the rehabilitative aqua-therapy requirements of this community?

Regards … Ian Bleys.

———————————————————————————————–
Fraser Coast Aqua-Therapy Association – Proposed
Contact Information:
The Proposer –
Ph/Fax: 61 7 41 941 081

Ms Desmond has neither acknowledged this message or responded in any way. I n fact that was one of the reasons I went to the 7th Sept meeting to front Ms Desmond and directly ask her why she has not responded. That was also ignored in the time since passed.

In the two weeks since that meetiing – her non response was further engaged when sent her another e-mail message on the 20th Sept – to follow up a similar message I sent her on the 29th Aug. The latest message is pasted below –

From: Fraser Coast Aqua Therapy Assoc [mailto:fcata@bigpond.com]
Sent: Tuesday, 20 September 2011 7:27 PM
To: Lisa DESMOND (Lisa.Desmond@frasercoast.qld.gov.au)
Cc: All-Councillors@frasercoast.qld.gov.au
Subject: FCATA Proposal – What Progress has been made to address the issues raised …

Dear Ms Desmond,

I have been patient – some two weeks after I fronted the Council and 4 weeks after the previous address to Council in Maryborough – and you still have not acknowledged my correspondence. I also note that no Councillor has been in contact since I addressed the Council two weeks ago.

You have not responded to at least 3 previous e-mail messages – they were asking you directly what action you have taken to follow up on undertakings you made in our phone conversation over 2 months ago.

Prior to these messages you asked me to submit a proposal and I spent a good month preparing that document and it was sent to you in May – 4 months ago …

Ms Desmond your last e-mail sent to FCATA was on the 15th Aug when you spoke of the final amendments to the concession card entry prices. Let me remind you once again – all your efforts have achieved is to bring this Council’s Pool admission prices to the same levels on offer from all your surrounding Councils.

Your Councilmen sat on this issue for almost 2 years defying and denying those same concessions – your appointment triggered a breakthrough but only because the Council was wrong in its price settings.

Please don’t think that this a Council goodwill concession – just measure all the past years when concession card holders have had to pay the same admission price as the general public for season tickets as a yardstick on fairness.

Your Council has an obligation to try to help those in most need within this community – and as has been presented to you in the Proposal – FCATA members having free access to the pool between 7:30 and 9:00am will not inconvenience the H/Bay public pool in any way. The offer was made for part of the FCATA membership fees to be paid to Council for that concession.
Your undertaking to contact Gladstone Council to learn about the GATA program should have enlightened you as to how their Aqua Therapy program has helped their community.

A similar program in Hervey Bay would service a much larger local demographic with 25% on the FCRC area being either an Aged pensioner or a Disability pensioner. In recent communications you gave undertakings that you have not followed through on – I now ask you again to engage on this issue and honour your commitments and obligations to the residents living in this Council region.

Kind Regard … Ian Bleys.
———————————————————————————————–
Fraser Coast Aqua-Therapy Association – Proposed
Contact Information:
The Proposer

… and to this message there still has been no response from Ms Desmond or any of her staff that she might have staffed this out to.

However – I did received two responses from Councillors Brooks and Hovard thanking me for the CC message.

There is not a lot I can say – yet when I read the Independents articles on Ms Desmond’s two weeks ago and what a the opinion about what a wonderful asset she seems to be – I scratch my head and ask – can all that was written be true … then why has she not bothered to engage on such an important issue that has the potential to improve the quality of life for 25% of the FCRC residents?

I would like to write an article about this Council and really let loose on their actual awareness and lack of understanding on what the FCATA is trying to achieve.

Councillor Brooks came back the same day with a response:

Thanks Ian. I still believe you are asking Council to set up a programme itself or for us to give FCATA members free access to the pool. Is this your desire?
Cheers, Sue

There were a few back and forth messages that followed and never achieved anything – in the end Cr Brooks has her head buried somewhere and just does not want to get involved on this issue other than she thinks the FCATA wants something for nothing.

In the last nine months every Councillor has been sent every bit of information about the FCATA and its agenda. If they had of bothered to read any of the detail they would know and understand what this program is about and is trying to achieve. Having now addressed the FCRC Councillors twice – and awaited their response – I was hoping my appeals to the FCRC may have provoked more enquiry and interest … but no – their level of perceived interest is still zero.

Scott Rowe from the Independent ran a story a few weeks ago and that also drew no response from Council. He indicated that when they were asked for a response comment – the answer was ‘no comment’.

Ms Desmond said she would advertise the new concession admission pool prices passed in May in their electronic Newsletter – that has not happened either.

The Disability and pensioner demographic do not have a real voice in this region. Sheila King does wonderful work for her ‘Australia for all’ advocacy group – and there are more than 50 other advocacy and charity carer organisations in the region – but in summary – they all fear speaking out or becoming advocates for a better deal and risking their existing and future funding grants.

Please use this link to make contact with FCATA if you want to be involved in this continuing battle to get an aqua-therapy program up and running. E-Mail: fcata@bigpond.com – Ph: 07 41941081.

All I can offer is that whilst I remain healthy I will keep putting this issue in front of Council and other avenues available.

Lets continue the battle.

________________________________________

FCATA Web Master …

Advertisements

F.C.A.T.A. Update – 24th Aug 2011

FCATA
F.C.A.T.A. Update – 24th Aug 2011
FCATA LogoThe Fraser Coast Regional Council(FCRC) at their 15th Ordinary Meeting held 17th Aug 2011 – voted to introduce 50% reductions on season admission prices for rehabilitation entry fees.

Prior to this council vote – and previous to the April ’11 vote to amend concession card holders entry fees – the cost for entry on season tickets for all pensioners and disabled was the same as the public entry cost. In April ’11 – Council decreased concession season tickets by 27% and 30% for half and full year entry.

The rehabilitation entry was not dealt with during this realignment of pool entry fees – this oversight was again bought to Council’s attention in May ’11 and this new resolution to introduce 50% reduced season tickets for rehabilitation entry was introduced as follows at the FCRC Aug 17th meeting:

ITEM NO: ORD 11.3 – FRASER COAST REGIONAL COUNCIL – ORDINARY MEETING NO. 15 – WEDNESDAY 17 AUGUST 2011
SUBJECT: HERVEY BAY AQUATIC CENTRE
DIRECTORATE: Community & Development
RESPONSIBLE OFFICER: CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, Lisa Desmond
AUTHOR: EM COMMUNITY & CULTURE, Debra Moore
DOC NO: #2051965 LINK TO CORPORATE / OPERATIONAL PLAN: 3.3.2, 3.2.1 & 3.2.3

1. PURPOSE

To provide an update for Council on fee structure and infrastructure changes to the Hervey Bay Aquatic Centre.

2. BACKGROUND & PREVIOUS COUNCIL CONSIDERATION

Since July 2010 there have been a number of significant changes to the Hervey Bay Aquatic Centre in relation to the fees and charges and infrastructure changes. There are also grants in progress for further improvements. Some of the upgrades and fee re-structure has been in direct response from members of the community seeking changes, while others have been identified through forward planning and maintenance scheduling.

Infrastructure changes have included:

  • Construction of a Life Guard Station and the refurbishment of the amenities as a result of forward planning;
  • Grant application approved to install a new lifting device for access to the covered heated pool and for a new replacement wheelchair, identified through general maintenance of existing equipment;
  • Heaters to the 25m outside pool have recently been replaced as a result of the previous heaters being at the end of their useful life; and
  • A grant application submitted to the Department of Sport & Recreation for a roof over the 25m outdoor pool after negotiations with a major user of the complex.

In a separate report to Council in April (Ordinary Meeting No. 7) concession passes were introduced for half yearly and seasonal passes in response to a community enquiry.

The approved fees and charges for 2011/2012 made changes to the daily rates and the 20 entry pass to include pensioner and concession rates and also a further discount for those on a rehabilitation program with authority from their medical doctor. This is as a response to improving business practices and in response to community representations to Council. Council has signed up with Disability Services Queensland for the Companion Card so that holders are able to have their carer or support worker receive free entry. This was from a direct request from a community member with a Companion Card. To provide further consistency to our current rates and charges it is proposed to seek approval for a 20 entry pass and season passes for those on rehabilitation with a letter from their medical doctor.

3. PROPOSAL

Council has been approached regarding the consistency of concessions for single entry and pass entry fees.

Adult Child Pensioner Concession Certified Rehabilitation*
Single Entry $3.70 $2.90 $2.90 $1.95
20 entry Pass $61.00 $49.00 $49.00 N/A
Half Year Pass $164.00 $115.00 $115.00 N/A
Full Year Pass $293.00 $211.00 $211.00 N/A

Note: 2010/11 a total of 1,104 rehabilitation single entry fees occurred.

*Holder of Disability Pension Card or Health Care Card – for rehabilitation purposes must provide letter from Medical Doctor certifying that aquatic activity is a requirement of rehabilitation. To ensure consistency with the concessions offered on single entry and passes for certified rehabilitation purposes with other pension concessions it is proposed to amended the fees and charges to include the follow:

Adult Child Pensioner Concession Certified Rehabilitation* (New Proposed)
Single Entry $3.70 $2.90 $2.90 $1.95
20 entry Pass $61.00 $49.00 $49.00 $33.00
Half Year Pass $164.00 $115.00 $115.00 $77.00
Full Year Pass $293.00 $211.00 $211.00 $142.00

This provides concessions for certified rehabilitation purposes of up to 50% on a standard adult entry free. To provide clarity for the Certified Rehabilitation it is proposed to amend the wording on the schedule to read: Certified Rehabilitation (see Note 1 below) which reads ¡§Must provide letter from Medical Doctor certifying that aquatic activity is a requirement of rehabilitation.

Further, in response to a request from the Fraser Coast Aqua Therapy Association for details on availability and access hours, Council has advised the Association that unrestricted access is available to all users (outside of the Learn to Swim School classes) during the hours of 11am – 3pm Monday to Friday, 12 – 4pm on Saturdays and 10am – 4pm on Sundays for use of the indoor heated pool and anytime during normal opening hours for use of the 25m outdoor heated pool and the 50m pool.

4. CONSULTATION

  • Chief Executive Officer
  • Manager Aquatic Centre
  • Community Members

5. CONCLUSION

These initiatives have and will improve accessibility to the aquatic centre as an important rehabilitation and recreational facility.

OFFICERS RECOMMENDATION

That Council:

  • Receives and note the report; and
  • Amends the fees and charges to include a 20 entry pass, half yearly and all year season pass for those requiring rehabilitation with a letter from their Medical Doctor as follows:
  • 20 entry pass – $33.00
  • Half year – $77.00 (Summer 1 Oct to 31 March/Winter 1 April to 30 September)
  • All year – $142.00 (1 October onwards)

ATTACHMENTS:
NIL

This resolution was voted and and the following minute is recorded in the 17th Aug Minutes.

[These minutes can be viewed on-line using the following link: http://www.frasercoast.qld.gov.au/web/guest/2011-ordinary-meetings]

ORD 11 OFFICERS REPORTS
ORD 11.3 – Hervey Bay Aquatic Centre
RESOLUTION ( Dalgleish / MucKan )

That Council:
1. Receives and note the report; and
2. Amends the fees and charges to include a 20 entry pass, half yearly and all year season pass for those requiring rehabilitation with a letter from their Medical Doctor as follows:

  • 20 entry pass – $33.00
  • Half year – $77.00 (Summer 1 Oct to 31 March/Winter 1 April to 30 September)
  • All year – $142.00 (1 October onwards)

Carried Unanimously
Ord 15/747/08/11

As the instigator of the Fraser Coast Aqua Therapy Assoc (FCATA) – I attended the 17th Aug Council meeting and addressed the meeting during the Public Participation forum – the minutes of the 17th Aug FCRC meeting recorded this as follows:

ORD 7 PUBLIC PARTICIPATION
ORD 7.4 Hervey Bay Aquatic Centre
Ian Bleys, 43 Wide Bay Drive, Eli Waters
Mr Bleys addressed Council on his support for the action being taken at the meeting to reduce admission fees at the Hervey Bay Aquatic Centre. He said that this region had approximately 5,500 disability pensioners and believed it to be the highest in Queensland. He sought Council’s support to use the Hervey Bay Aquatic Centre for aqua therapy sessions to help people with disabilities improve their quality of life.

This address was hoped to incite some interest among the Councillors who have shown no interest in this matter since it was first raised two and a half years ago. The motion approved above only addresses what was put before Council in MAr 2009 – it only brings this Council region into line with what other Regional Councils had offered their constituents for many years.

Council have no right to feel proud on this issue – they lag behind all the Councils – and for almost 12 months now the FCATA has been trying to engage the Council on matters relating to improvements to the pool facilities for disabled patrons, for recognition of the FCATA in that they are trying to provide a means in which members of FCATA can involve themselves with a self-help aqua therapy program to improve the quality of their lives.

This council, and in particular the CEO Ms Desmond – have given undertakings to address some of the FCATA issues – since May – very little has been achieved and Council believe that the motion passed 17th Aug – addresses the FCATA matters raised.

If not for Ms Desmond’s involvement since she became CEO – none of what has happened to date – i.e. concession season price reductions – would have occurred. The Mayor (Mr Kruger) was against the proposal from the start – and of the 11 Councillors only Cr’s Brooks, Hawes, Hovard have responded to any of the ‘read receipt’ requests requested on e-mails sent to All-Councillors.

A point to note is that in the 17th Aug meeting the Hervey Bay Aquatic Pool was isolated and the fee restructure does not apply to the Maryborough Pool. This was bought to the attention to the Council during my public address yet in the minutes of that address – it indicates that my cause was for Hervey Bay residents only – this was not so – Cr Brooks made a comment as follows when we corresponded on this issue before the Council meeting.

” … The Maryborough Swimming Pool is leased and not under the same mechanism of direct control than the Bay pool is. I thought you would have known that by now…’

I responded to Cr Brooks telling her that all Maryborough Pool’s previous concessions were the same as the Hervey Bay pool – and asked why should this concession be any different. She has not responded to this question since.

I continue to believe that most of the Council members have no real interest in FCATA and what benefits it can offer and provide to Fraser Coast residents seeking aqua therapy rehabilitation.

Over the next few weeks/months I intend to go to more Council meetings to raise the profile of the FCATA requests directly to Council in a public way. The matters already talked about with Ms Desmond and her undertakings will be pursued during this forum. The lack of Councillor involvement will also be highlighted – particularly when some $300,000 in grant money was handed over to the Hervey Bay Tennis Club on the back of efforts by members of Council. This was for recreational activities and surely similar support should be available for rehabilitation services.

The Tennis Club has a membership appeal of a few thousand – and the disabled and elderly has a FCRC base in excess of 20,000. Council have to be made to recognise the benefits that will be available to so many of the Fraser Coast region via the FCATA when Council decide to get behind the program.

As with any battle – front line troops are needed. Single handed battles against a Council rarely have a victory – in this instance a two and half year battle has been won – and only because Ms Desmond had the pluck once she became CEO to take and make a case for Council to reconsider their position. Other Councillors and Council staff have not been so interested in promoting the FCATA – and to continue this fight more troops are needed.

Please use this link to make contact if you want to be involved in this continuing FCATA battle:

E-Mail: fcata@bigpond.com – Ph: 07 41941081

Lets continue the battle.

________________________________________

FCATA Web Master …

Interview with Pool Manager – 10th Mar 2011 …

Hi all,

I had some good news yesterday (10th Mar) – it was not from the Council – Council made contact last night after I had written this post – I agreed to delay its upload pending a discussion about the content of the post and what is contained in a letter advised as being sent yesterday …

As relates to the positive news before the Acting CEO messaged last night:

I sat with the Hervey Bay Pool Manager yesterday – Paul – the meet went for over an hour and we talked about the FCATA program and in particular access times available, and the indoor and outdoor heated pools – Paul was happy to provide his own feedback.

Several weeks ago – during late January – Ms Debra Moore had told me not to talk to the Pool Manager about this program – I respected that directive up to recent events when Ms Moore and other Council employees refused to return calls or respond to E-Mails –

This meeting with the Pool Manager was very open and candid – firstly –

The Pool Managers Equity Position:

This subject was broached as a result of some allegations presented to me that needed to be confirm – I first contacted Mr Sorensen’s office – and he suggested I contact Council or ask direct questions of the Acting CEO – Lisa Desmond.  Council did not respond on specific questions put to them on this matter.

I then approached the Pool Manager to get his account first hand – something the Council did not do – and from Ms Desmond late response last night – she has not been able to gain any information about the matter anyway in fact I was able to inform her about what she was trying to find out.

Paul first took on the Hervey Bay pool lease in 1995 – for 3 years – the 50m pool, the wading pool, and the current building block were already built when he took on this lease.  He again renewed the lease for another 3 years in 1998 – and during this second term – Council gave him permission to do pool renovations at his own cost.

He built what is now the ‘indoor learn to swim’ facility – improved the wading pool with all the games and slides that are currently part of that pool section, and he also installed all the shading that is currently visible.  His outlay for these renovations was $200,000.

Some 5 years ago – he did a deal with the Council to rescind his equity position and applied for the Pool manager position – he was successful in his application and now draws a contract wage as the Pool Manager and a sees himself as a Council employee.

His charge is to run the pool as its manager and draws no bonus nor other income from any pool asset or pool activity.

Paul was happy to volunteer all this information to clear up certain information that was made known to me.  The third party who provided that information has been update with relevance to this conversation and to clarify their understanding and hopefully be wary of the future quality of information distributed.

Secondly – The Learn to Swim Question:

I had previously approached Council at our 21st Feb meeting to get the reasons why a Hervey Bay Carer Group Learn to Swim program for disabled clients they were funding was refused access to the Indoor Heated pool.

This question was raised with Ms Desmond – the acting CEO – with three other Councillors – and another Council employee – Ms Debra Moore in attendance.  Before Ms Desmond could respond to the question – Ms Moore cut into the conversation and made the following statement:

‘That is a confidential matter between the Council and the Carer Group – I will be talking to the Carer group to try and resolve the matter.’

I accepted that statement from Ms Moore at face value and did not pursue it further.

When I spoke to the Carer after the meeting to update them – and in follow up conversations about the program – the Carer Group advised they have had no further contact with Council about this matter. They also confirmed that they have had no formal notice from Council as to why the Learn to Swim program was denied access.

Why did Ms Moore tell a deliberate untruth at that meeting on this issue – why has she not followed it up with the Carer Group as she advised?

10 days or so ago – I sent a message to Ms Desmond following up the 21st meeting discussions to find out about what progress had been made on the ‘pool access’ issue.

She responded – see previous post for copy of her response – I sent another message over the weekend and that message has yet to be responded to -[response received late yesterday evening].   Because of this delay and the continued non response to phone calls to Ms Moore and Mr Smith – I made the decision to seek a conversation with the Pool Manager about his views concerning the FCATA program.

The Pool Manager indicated that perhaps one of the reasons Council have been slow to respond to any of the matters raised in the latest message to Ms Desmond – is that none of the current staff were around when all of Paul’s lease/Pool Manager transition happened.

Paul also emphasised that currently – he carries out the Council’s pool price policy and his two operational concerns are that the pool functions smoothly and provides for the residents of Hervey Bay – and that pool safety is a priority.

Thirdly – Pensioner Discounts:

Paul and I disagree on this Council’s ‘non existent concession card’ pool admission price policy – we have disagreed on this point for as long as I have been trying to get Council to address their discriminate policy.  It is just a difference of opinion and I will continue to try and convince him otherwise.

Paul’s position on any pool admission discount comes from his days as a Pool Lease holder – any reduced cost on admission prices would directly eat into his revenue streams – now that his position is a Pool Manager – he is charged to run the pool to a Council Budget – those discounted revenue pressures are no longer something that he is overtly concerned with in his current position.

The Hervey Bay pool Budget:

The Hervey Bay pool budget for 2009-10 and the forecast for 2010-11 can be viewed as a .pdf file by opening the linked file below:

H_Bay Pool Operational Budget Pools (2) – In essence it breaks down to this:

____________________________________________________________________________

Hervey Bay Pool Operational Budget: Original Budget 2009/10 Amended Budget 2009/10 Actuals 2009/10 Budget 2010/11
Total Operating Income $472,000 $472,000 $642,172 $657,000
Total Operating Expenses -$730,551 -$730,511 -$770,194 -$924,500
Net Operational -$258,551 -$258,511 -$128,022 -$267,500

_____________________________________________________________________________

To summarise further – the Fraser Coast Regional Council structured a Budget for 2009-10 for the pool to run at an operational loss of $258,551 – and the 2010-11 deficit is forecast at a  $267,500 shortfall.

The Council accepts the pool loses money on a yearly operational basis – yet when they were approached for ‘concession card’ discounts that would have cost a forecast $1000-$1500 in Sept ’10 – the Councillors collectivelly voted on the motion and said ‘NO’.

The FCRC pool budget has forecast subsidises to the general public entry costs to a value of $258k and $267k over last years and next years budgets – yet when approached for ‘concession card discounts’ – the Council were not prepared to make any offer that would reduce the ‘concession card’ admission costs below those of the General Public.

Some History of the ‘Concession Card’ discount application:

This decision was a collective choice made by all Councillors when they unanimously voted not to review the ‘concession card’ discount request at their Aug ’10 meeting.

I responded to the Council’s vote in September with a report that contained information that refuted the information contained in their own report produced by Council staff – no outside advice was sought in compiling this report – this report has proved to be factually erroneous and misleadingly so – it suited the Council’s needs to ‘shut me up’.

I sent my review of the Council produced report to ‘All-Councillors’ – the Mayor’s Secretary contacted me immediatly and arrange for me to meet with him – that was in late Sept ’10 – he sat down with me with – Andy Gaze and – Peter Smith – and I gave them the factual evidence that contradicted the Council’s report – at the end of that meeting the Mayor shook my hand – looked me in the eye and gave me an undertaking that he was going to ‘do something to fix the problem’.  I took him at his word and believed that would be movement by the Council on the ‘concession card’ price policy.

That ‘something’ came a few weeks later when – Mr Peter Smith (Director Community Development) – rang me with the Mayor’s proposal/offer –

The MAyor was prepared to offer in that I personally – could now pay the annual ‘GENERAL PUBLIC’ fee on a monthly basis – just so long as I did it at the Council Chambers and not at the pool.

Talk about a ‘DUTCH” gift.  As if I was seeking a personal response – it was insultive and showed a complete lack of respect for the efforts I had put in trying to convince the Council they were wrong in their pool pricing policy.

The Pool Manager told me this same deal was already available at the pool for any season ticket buyer …

Mr Kruger’s offer was a ‘Scrooge’ effort and paid no respect to my approach to have this matter dealt with.  The Mayor then call me ‘disrespectful’ when in a response to one of my message I wrote after hearing of his proposal he commented as follows:

From: Jenni Oort [mailto:Jenni.Oort@frasercoast.qld.gov.au] On Behalf Of Mick Kruger
Sent: Wednesday, 22 December 2010 11:26 AM
To: ******
Subject: RE: Pool Season Ticket prices for Concession Card Holders

Hi Ian,

Thankyou for your e-mail of 22nd December 2010 relating to Pool Season Ticket prices for concession card holders.   The contents of your e-mail is unacceptable in its present form for reasons of the foul display of courtesy.

cheers

Mick Kruger

I never used ‘disparaging or foul’ language – the message called a ‘spade a spade’ and is available it anyone wants to have a read.

This level of ‘meanness’ demonstrated by this Council in not addressing the ‘concession card’ discount issue – is born from people who should never be in a position to lead or make decisions about a Communities needs and wants.

Supporting matters presented to Council during this period and since to try and appeal to their sense of civic duty include:

  • FCRC is the only researched Council between Brisbane and Mackay who does not offer ‘concession card’ discounts across all pool admission prices for Council Managed pools –  click on the file link here: pool stats to see a spreadsheet outlining all the pools admission prices researched …
  • FCRC currently offer concession card discounts to the – Brolga Theatre – on there Council rates – Maryborough and Hervey Bay shows – the Bus contract was issues under a Council tender and concession card users get discounts.
  • In addition most local business offer a pensioner discount – Movie Theatre – trades services – yard cleanup services – Electricity suppliers – Meals on Wheels – there are a host of community conscious business and sole operators out there who offer discounts for services to pensioners or concession card holders – but not the FCRC when it comes to their pool admission price policy.
  • I have not been the only one who has raised this issue with Council – a number of Carer groups have also had a problem – carers have to pay to attend to their charges when they enter the pool –  whether they get in the pool or not –

Council are just wrong in their position on this issue –

The FCATA program was born from the research undertaken to refute the Council’s own report presented at their August meeting – from that came the discovery of the Gladstone Aquatic Therapy program (GATA)  – it is a aqua-therapy program that has been in operation for 20+ years – learning about the program has given me motivation and insight to just what can be done by a community when they get behind a program that improves the quality of life for so many disadvantaged persons.

You may ask what all this past history has to do with the proposed new FCATA program – well nothing really other than the history of how Council have bumbled their way through this issue is a reminded that history matters when trying to understand why current and future decisions are made.

Council have a closed mind mentality to this matter and it needs to be exposed to make them accountable to their community.

The Mayor wants to run again next year – the information contained hereto gives some insight into how committed the Mayor is about helping the disabled and pensioner group living in this area.

The Gladstone Aquatic Therapy program:

GATA currently receive HACC funding for their program – in addition the Gladstone Council also provide $40,000 worth of free pool time – and they also allow any person with  a ‘concession card’ to attend the pool between 8-9 am – Mon – Fri – free of charge

To help with the growth of the program – they also added special amenities for the participants of the program.  It took the Council a few years to embrace the program – reasons for the Councils eventual involvement were many – one of those reasons is a little known fact about a Gladstone Councillor who had a child – or a relative – who become part of the program – that seemed to get the Councils attention and as they say – it grew from there when the results proved to all concerned what could be done with aqua therapy.

All it takes is a little vision on behalf of those who are ignorant to a situation – leaders who embrace that type of vision are few and far between – any concession I have had from the FCRC has been earned whilst they still resist being dragged toward a decision they know they will have to make – pride and stubbornness is the Council’s problem on this matter.

The FCRC response:

The Gladstone Councils commitment to their GATA program makes this Council look like ‘Scrooge’ types –

With their pronounced ignorance – all hidden behind a stubbornness and a lack of compassion and understanding to how persons with mobility issues struggle to live on a pension – one would think they would view and try to support self-help efforts to join a aqua program to get exercise and improve their mobility.

I have tee’d off here and I believe it is justified – I challenge the Council to come to the first General Meeting of the FCATA to be held in a few weeks and gain some first hand knowledge about the program.  To date I have only received responses from 3 councillors to messages sent to ‘All Councillors’ e-mail addresses – they all get it but from the responses received – only 2-3 think it important enough to respond.

The demographics between Gladstone and Fraser Coast on this issue and for the targeted group for the FCATA looks like this:

________________________________________________________________________

Data Information: Fraser Coast Region Gladstone Region
Regional Area Population: 99,514 (2009) 59,644 (2009)
Persons 55+ living in area: 28,021 (2010) (28.16%) 9,226 (2010) (15.47%)
Disability Pen’s living in area: 5,388 (2009) (  5.41%) 1,121 (2009) (  1.81%)
Aged Pensioners living in area: 13,148 (2009) (13.21%) 2,907 (2009) (  4.87%)
People receiving ‘CARER’ assist: 1,327 (2009) ( 1.33%) 201 (2009) (  0.34%)
Participants in GATA: 100

________________________________________________________________________

Source information for this table came from:

http://www.frasercoast.qld.gov.au/c/document_library/get_file?p_l_id=97185&folderId=1410927&name=DLFE-28750.pdf

http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/3235.02009?OpenDocument

http://www.ausstats.abs.gov.au/ausstats/nrpmaps.nsf/NEW+GmapPages/national+regional+profile?opendocument

http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@nrp.nsf/Latestproducts/315073222Economy12005-2009?opendocument&tabname=Summary&prodno=315073222&issue=2005-2009

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

FCRC have no logical or factual foundation response to the data that promotes this debate – the continued ‘no response’ from Council to the matters raised in the last 2-4 weeks demonstrate their lack of understanding on any policy formulation in how to deal with what has been asked of them.  The recent CEO resignation may have left a void – but the Acting CEO seems capable and she wants the top job – but even she seems to have left this program sunbathing on a rock … nothing from her since midday Sunday when the message was sent – [update – a message was received late yesterday evening and after this post was written.]

Pool Access:

The Pool Manager talked openly about the Hervey Bay pool and its current pool commitments and how he could accommodate pool access for the program.  He indicated that Council had recently asked him about pool usage but gave no detail to him about the FCATA program or its request details for pool access.  I outlined the requests made of Council and they were:

  • Free access to the Hervey Bay and Maryborough pools between 7:30 – 9:00am Monday – Friday for Tier 2 and 3 accessed FCATA members –
  • Free Pool availability between 9:00 – 12:00 noon for Tier 1 FCATA members for both pools – 3 days in one center and 2 days in the other one week – and reversed the following week –  he obviously could not speak for Maryborough Pool access.

The pool Manager said the pool was generally free of public usage between 7:30 and 9:00 am Mon – Fri – and he saw no issue with allowing pool access during these times – this could be the heated 25m and/or the 50m pools during Summer.  Schools don’t have access until 9:15 am and Club and other squad training is done by 7:30 am.

I have had no discussions with the Maryborough Pool Management regards access – the Maryborough Swimming Club have not responded since I asked them for a copy of the Maryborough pool Budget in January.  The Council speak for this pool as well.

Paul did mentioned that the Indoor heated pool is used for learn to swim classes up to 11:00 am weekday mornings.  He said it would be available for the program from 11:00 – 3:30 pm if that suited the FCATA program.  This is a matter for further discussions – it is hoped that the outdoor heated pool will suffice.  Paul’s advice was that if the Tier 1’s are not that active in the outdoor heated pool – they will get cold – this advice was welcome.

It is necessary to link the Tier 2 & 3 access together with the Tier 1 – a number of the Tier 2 and 3’s will stay on after their 7:30 -9:00 session to help with the Tier 1’s.

Summary:

These discussions continued to be open and cordially – Paul gave every indication that he had no problem with ‘pool access’ requirements for this program.

His primary concern – and this relates to why the Carer learn to swim program was denied access – was that the pool currently offers certain services that are operated by outside agents – i.e. private physio sessions and private water aerobics sessions – both these functions provide services the Pool cannot currently accommodate.

The Carer Learn to Swim program was a conflict to existing Learn to Swim classes already conducted by the pool staff.   Many disabled children attend these classes – and on this point – Paul is creditable in his explanation – the issue of disabled seniors and learn to swim classes is a different matter and one that he would have to consider.

The question is why did Ms Moore from Council mislead me about following up with the Carer Group – and try to withhold this simple information from becoming publicly known?

Council are acting as if they are stuck in the ‘hares glare’ – they cannot see a way to solve this self made mess:

  • They must be aware of the aged and disabled demographics of their community –
  • they must know that any self help program will help alleviate the strains and stresses already in play on the regions health services –
  • they know that the aged care business in this area drives a significant amount of employment and commerce in the region –
  • all these reasons and more and still the Council stays silent –

Whatever bunker they are hiding in is surely damaged – whoever is advising them must be youthful and without disability or aged care understanding – the Council must consider and provide for its residents –

I want to thank the Pool Manager for his time and openness – it was refreshing to speak to a Council employee who showed real interest in hearing the full vision for this program.

For now we must all continue to wait until someone with enough knowledge, and creditability get ahead of this matter as opposed to the continued lag and negative responses being offered … this Community is crying out for a program like this – Council should be pro-active and leading the momentum for this program as a part response to addressing the future health issues facing this community.

Update from Meeting with Council 21st Feb 2011 ……

Update from Meeting with Council 21st Feb 2011 …

The main topic discussed at the meeting was ‘pool access’ – Council acknowledges the merits of the program – but in its current structure – it cannot do anything other than give undertakings to address the logistical requirements the program ‘may’ require if it can find the funding to start the program.

Awareness and real commitment are two entirely different things – for the two odd years spent trying to overcome the ‘ignorance’ this Council has in its policy toward the ‘admissions prices’ for the ‘concession card’ demographics in this region – you would think that they would have learned something.

Council wanted absolutes and factual data and none was available – their openness about their interest in the program was there and genuine – but any reasons why they had not come up with the previous recognition for the need of a program like this was not – I wanted a longer meeting – their schedule was for 30 minutes – two Councillors and a Council staff stayed for an hour – the Acting CEO left early for another meeting as did another Councillor – I did not think it rude – just that the meeting is not a high priority for the Council at this point in time.

I can accept that the Acting CEO’s time is valuable – she did not want to know of any past history – she did not have any real independent knowledge of the correspondence that had preceded this meeting – I may have erred in this area in not copying (CC) all the correspondence to the CEO that was sent to the Councillors over the last six months – she had obviously been briefed by Council staff who were aware of the previous history – that gave her a very biased perspective.

The Mayor was no where near this meeting given his ‘limp’ and disrespectful attempts to resolve the matter in the past.

The Acting CEO appears capable and had a genuine interest in wanting to talk about the aqua-therapy program.  When presenting the needs for pool access and giving her what the program would like and needed to have to go forward – i.e. some type of forward commitment from Council for the program to have guaranteed access to the pool, the following points were put forward –

  • to allow free access between 8-9 am Mon- Fri for all pensioner/disability card holders for Association Tier 2 and Tier 3 members/participants via a membership with the proposed program  – did score points as did similar access requests for the Tier 1 participants – for both Hervey Bay and Maryborough pools – Tier 4 for children was raised briefly and this was explained as being dependent on a number of other factors including, acquiring specific funding that can be expended on aqua-therapy for children as opposed to the Tier 1,2 & 3 groups.  Other points raised were:-
  • sun covers over the heated pools to allow Tier 1 access between 9-12 pm  –
  • the impending closure of the Maryborough Pool for refurbishment – and the prospect of applying for access to the Maryborough Base Hospital hydrotherapy pool to cater for the Tier 1 Maryborough group – [this is currently being investigated via the custodians of the Base Hospital pool] –
  • the staffing of the program – specifically for the Tier 1 group from a ‘workplace health and safety’ perspective –
  • levels of interest and limitations on the proposed growth of the program given the public’s entitlements and commitments to use the pools – mainly all negated because the  Tier 1 program will be using the heated pools – and the Tier 2 & 3 will be finished by the 9.00am time frame when schools and the like want access to the pools – the Respite Care participants for Tier 1-3 are a different matter and this access is still in the process of being assessed from the program’s perspective – i.e. there now appears to be two different groups developing – those who are independent and want to become members, and a second group who are under respite care management and want to be a part of the program as a respite type activity – each of these two groups have their own Tier 1-3 participants and each group will have and want different time access to the pool –
  • Council want to know what the expected and proposed growth for the program is forecast to be – it was explained that at this point this is very hard to qualify – given the formal responses to date – over 70 – over 50 from Respite groups – and with well over another 40 odd Carer Groups yet to give their formal estimates by the end of March deadline for Interest Notifications – any estimates could be so far off – given the more than 5500 disability pensioners in the region – and the 1400 odd receiving carer assistance – and the 30,000 odd people 55 and over all living in the Fraser Coast region – the number could be anything at this stage  – more information on this point will be available when the March deadline comes.
  • there was limited discussion on funding requirements – other than it would have to come from outside sources – [this is in hand in the form of current submissions to both Federal and State Ministers for disability services and funding for the proposed program being prepared – additional applications are also in the process of being formulated to Carer Groups who have indicated an interest in the program] – any funding availability will depend on the interest notification levels, the Associations formation, and the Management Committee’s ability to formulate specific actions plans for all Tier level groups.  This is a monster of a task and as repeated previously – help is needed.

Summation:

My take on the meeting is that Council are now very much aware that they have to act in some way to deal with where this proposed program is coming from and at them.  The Acting CEO spoke positively about Councils awareness and intent – when she become aware of what has transpired before her time – that will be a time where her ability to lead and make decisions will be challenged – she will have to shift the Mayors position on this matter and I dare say a number of other Councillors as well.

If the political take on this issue was put aside – nobody would argue there is not a need to have this program established – it serves the community in so many ways – the aging population in this area is fast exhausting the medical resources of the region – inducing and encouraging the targeted demographics of this program will only assist in keeping independent livers living longer in their own homes and lessen the pressure on the health resources of the community.

Council just have to find a way to make it happen – in my opinion they should have been in front of this issue from the get-go – having to now drag them kicking and resisting all the while has shown a completed lack of respect for the true needs for this very large grouped demographic – an example of the Council’s ignorance to the truth in the numbers was when Council used the number of pensioner ratepayers as the statistic for the pensioner group in the region – their number was 9000+ –

The real number from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) had the number of aged pensioners living in the Fraser Coast region at well over 13,000 in 2009 – that is a almost a 50% under estimate of the potential target numbers for Tier 2 and Tier 3 participants of this program.  If current 2011 numbers were known – I dare say it would be a much larger under estimation.   The stats used for this example appear below – [these numbers have previously been  sent to Council and Councillors and it would appear they have  educated nobody].

Data Information: Fraser Coast Region Gladstone Region
Regional Area Population: 99,514 (2009) 59,644 (2009)
Persons 55+ living in area: 28,021 (2010) (28.16%) 9,226 (2010) (15.47%)
Disability Pensioners living in area: 5,388 (2009) (  5.41%) 1,121 (2009) (  1.81%)
Aged Pensioners receiving pension: 13,148 (2009) (13.21%) 2,907 (2009) (  4.87%)
People receiving ‘CARER’ assist: 1,327 (2009) ( 1.33%) 201 (2009) (  0.34%)

Source Links for data in above table appear below:

There is still much to be done before this program can be called a ‘likely to happen’ event.  At this point – it has been established that the need is there – to get to the next round of talks and discussions – creditability needs to be obtained and that has to be about forming a Committee and becoming a registered Association –

Plans for this are being discussed at the moment – it is hoped that members of the Gladstone Aquatic Therapy Association will travel to Hervey Bay in late March to give a presentation about their program and answer any questions put to them.  This meeting will be open to the public and any Carer Group and any person who has registered their interest in the program to date – it is intended to make this meeting the first General Meeting of FCATA at which the Management Committee will be elected.

If you know you can help with this program in a Management way – please attend and be prepared to offer your services.  If you want any more information about the program and its intentions as seen through my eyes – please feel free to contact be and ask as many questions as you like. My name is Ian – my phone number is : 0741 941 081.

My concept of this program is not the final say on any matter that the Association will become or be involved with – I am a disability pensioner and I would categorise myself as a Tier 2 participant – I know first hand the success of aqua-therapy and how it can improve outlook and the want to become more mobile and enjoy a better quality of life – I have seen it happen and I want to see it happen across our Nation – and in particular this region where I have decided to live.  This program can only improve your mobility and want for a better quality of life – please give it your support.

Also – can I ask you to submit your interest notification if you have not already done so.  You can complete to on-line form below, or download a Word file linked here and submit your notification by mail.

Download Word File Interest Notification form:

Click here: FCATA Interest Notification Form
————— FCATA Interest Notification Form ——————–













Where:

  • TIER 1 = This grouping is represented by persons with severe disabilities who require full/part time carers.
  • TIER 2 = This group is represented by self help disability pensioners, and other pensioners with mobility issues and wish to become involved in a healthier aqua therapy/exercise program on a regular basis.
  • TIER 3 = This group is represented by all the other ‘pensioner’ groups, including self funded retirees, and people living independently who want to be part of a healthier exercise program to maintain their independent lifestyles.

Please note: Volunteering is optional in any capacity – participants in Tier 2 and Tier 3 – it is not a condition of membership of the program that participants are required to volunteer – if they wish to help the program in ways where their skill sets can be used – any assistance will be appreciated – please see the Volunteer Interest Level below to address this question. [Sorry for any confusion on this matter].





————– END OF FORM ———————-

Weekly Update – 20th Feb 2011

Hi all,

I will post a more comprehensive update after the meeting with Council on Monday.

Meantime –

  • the week was about getting the Carer Groups to gather information from their clients about ‘interest’ in the program.   This is still ongoing and expectation is ahead of the results at this point.
  • I started work on the FCATA Budget through t the end of 2012 – so much will depend of how Council responds and what costs the program will have to pay to gain access to the pools – we’ll know more after Monday.
  • The Submissions to the Federal and State Disability Ministers is  all but complete – also awaiting the outcome of Monday’s Council meeting and whether Council are supportive and if so – to what extent –
  • State Parliament was sitting last week so nothing was heard from Messes Sorrensen or Foley – also Federal MP Mr Neville was also silent on this issue – I will be following up with these Members during the oncoming week.
  • There has been a number of Interest Notifications from Parents of children with disabilities – this has created thought and a notion to create a TIER 4 level entry – that being for children.   This is being investigated further with Education QLD and how their charted caters for children with disabilities and whether this style of aqua-therapy program fits their ‘physical activities’ Educational charter – much has to be learned before any decision or choices can be made in this regard.
  • The Observer did not run the ad on Friday as I was expecting – I was told it did run in the Herald but have no way of verifying if it did [only delivered in Maryborough] – spoke with the Chronicle staffer who was going to send me copies of the published ads – but I am still yet to receive same –
  • The GATA [Gladstone Aquatic Therapy Association] program have indicated they would be willing to come to Hervey Bay and give a presentation about their program some time toward late March – when more information is known – I will send an e-mail to all Carers and Interest Notification submissions originators about the detail [when and where] – this will be an information forum and open to any interested party – it may even serve as a General Meeting of the FCATA program where elections for Committee positions may take place.
  • I am still in need of a preliminary Steering Committee – please –  help is needed – a number of the Interest Submission notifications have indicated their willingness to help and I will try to get to you this coming week with some specific asks about Budget submissions and Funding Applications – if anyone has experience in these areas and wants to contribute – please get in touch –
  • I have given up on the ABC Wide Bay radio interview [24th Jan 2011] – they did send me a ‘.cda’ file format copy – special software is required to convert the format to allow it to be posted – requests to the ABC for a compatible format had gone unanswered –

So much hinges on the meeting with Council tomorrow – I will post Tuesday/Wednesday about the outcomes from this meeting …

cheers … Ian.

Weekly Update 12th Feb 2011 …

It was another very productive week … exhausting really and I am just starting to realise just what it is that I have taken on here … this is quite a large post and I apologise for that – but there is a lot to be said – please be patient and read the whole post at your leisure – I am sure you will get a lot from it …

  • First off the rank was a meeting with a very prominent local businessman who gave some great advice … I went looking for funds to pay for local ads in The Independent, The Observer and Herald newspapers. There was no luck on the fund raising but The Chronicle, Observer and Herald ran a short story about the Aqua-Therapy program on Friday.It was unexpected and I have to apologise … I only learned myself on Wednesday about the ‘politically correct language’ requirements when talking or describing persons with disabilities.

    I suffer disabilities myself and even I did not know that the word ‘hand—pped’ is a big no-no. I apologise for its use in the story that ran on Friday – the papers have also been made aware of the required language protocols. The papers indicated that they are going to run the article next week as well.

  • This next development is a biggie … one of the Carer groups I met with during the week gave me details about a ‘learn-to-swim’ program for persons with disabilities they had helped organise – this Carer group had provided the funding – they had a professionally qualified person with staff to manage the program – they had the participants pre-selected – and they were all ready to start the program – all they needed was for the Fraser Coast Regional Council (FCRC) to agree and approve the program’s ‘access’ to the indoor heated pool at the Hervey Bay Aquatic center.The FCRC denied the Carer group’s application for ‘pool access’ and the whole program fell away immediately. The person who spent the time and effort to organised the program was so distraught at the Council’s denial – they have not been contactable since – thoughts are that they left the district in disgust at the decision.

    Further advice related that the reason the access was denied was because ‘pool staff’ did not want the program interfering with their existing bookings. If this is correct – the ‘pool staff’ need to be educated on so many levels – and shame on Council for letting ‘pool staff’ dictate to them on a very serious policy decision concerning a genuine program that would help all those participants willing to partake in the proposed ‘learn-to-swim’ program.

    Politically – the ‘pool staff’ and Council are at odds with their own communities needs and demographics.

    This information sent shivers through this proposed ‘aqua therapy’ program development as well. As a result I wrote to Council seeking an urgent meeting over ‘pool access’ given this decision and this Council’s demonstrated reluctance to address any issue relating to this instance and other ongoing ‘disability and concession’ card holders access to the pool.

    To the Councils credit – Cr Hovard responded immediately and organised a meeting to discuss the Aqua-Therapy programs pool access requirements – that meeting is scheduled for the 21st Feb. Nominated attendees at that meeting are the acting CEO Lisa Desmond, Debra Moore, the Executive Manager Community & Culture, Cr Hovard, Cr Muckan, Cr Hawes and any other Councillor who wants to make the time to be there … just how many other Councillors show for this meeting will be a litmus test on just how seriously Council takes this matter.

    This meeting will determine so much about where and how this proposed ‘aqua-therapy’ program will go forward. Without generous pool access agreed to by Council – the program will fail. Unless Council review their recent ‘learn-to-swim’ decision with some understanding of how ‘incorrect’ that decision was – there is a monster ‘brawl’ about to happen over this proposed new program.

    When I wrote to Council requesting this meeting I gave them some data about the Fraser Coast region – the Council would be aware of these same statistics – yet for all of the past two years I have been trying to get Council to budge on the ‘season ticket’ costs for ‘concession card holders’ – the Council have remained steadfastly ‘ignorant’ on matters relating to how their pool admission pricing is ‘discriminate’. Those statistics appear below:


    Data Information:……………………………………Fraser Coast Region………Gladstone Region

    Regional Area Population:…………………………..99,514 (2009)……………….59,644 (2009)
    Persons 55+ living in area:………………………….28,021 (2010) (28.16%)…….9,226 (2010) (15.47%)
    Disability Pensioners living in area:………………….5,388 (2009) ( 5.41%)…….1,121 (2009) ( 1.81%)
    Aged Pensioners receiving pension:……………….13,148 (2009) (13.21%)……..2,907 (2009) ( 4.87%)
    People receiving ‘CARER’ assist:……………………1,327 (2009) ( 1.33%)………..201 (2009) ( 0.34%)
    Participants in Gladstone Aquatic Therapy Assoc GATA:…………………………….100
    Projected participants in FCATA Tier 1:…………….25- 50 by 2013
    Projected participants in FCATA Tier 2:…………….75-100 by 2013
    Projected participants in FCATA Tier 3:…………..100-150 by 2013

    Council have indicated that they are planning some alterations to the pool admission price structure for the next round of Budget discussions. The outcome from discussions at this meeting will hopefully go some way to getting a fairer deal for all concession card holders who use or want to use the pool.

    What is glaringly obvious and must be an oversight by Council is that it currently and has always offered ‘concession card’ discounts for its rates and all other Council managed facilities i.e. Annual Show, Brolga Theater etc … yet do not offer season discounts for ‘concession card’ holders at the pool. There is a discriminate policy in play here and Council do not want to see it or acknowledge it in any way. Council have the right to set fees and charges and no outside agency can alter that fact. Yet – Council still has to be mindful of its consistency of policy and have respect for the large disability and aged pensioner group living in its region.

    Before Amalgamation – the Maryborough Pool did offer concession card discounts – after amalgamation this was altered to reflect the Hervey Bay Pool policy. The Council’s position on this matter is indefensible.

    To more pleasant matters about the program …

  • There was another 12 ‘interest notification’ submissions for the week and this number has to continue to flow before the end of March to provide the numbers that will allow the program to carry weight when funding is applied for. Please – talk to your friends who may be interested in the program – submitting the ‘interest notification’ form is very important. I have included the ‘interest notification’ form in this post to make it easier for those who want to respond now!!!!

————— FCATA Interest Notification Form ——————–












Where:

  • TIER 1 = This grouping is represented by persons with severe disabilities who require full/part time carers.
  • TIER 2 = This group is represented by self help disability pensioners, and other pensioners with mobility issues and wish to become involved in a healthier aqua therapy/exercise program on a regular basis.
  • TIER 3 = This group is represented by all the other ‘pensioner’ groups, including self funded retirees, and people living independently who want to be part of a healthier exercise program to maintain their independent lifestyles.





————– END OF FORM ———————-

Continuing with the weekly updates …

  • On Thursday I sent a broadcast e-mail to all the Carer, Aged Care and Respite Activity listings in the 2010 Fraser Coast Community Directory. About 20 odd e-mail addresses came back as invalid – luckily the phone contact information was still valid – this resulted in a number of calls for more information and from that came a whole host of additional Carer Organisation names and contacts.The scope of Carer groups in this area is huge and rightly so given the demographics for the area in the ‘disability’ and ‘carer’ category. Its a pity that Council do not want to get ahead of this demographic and create and enact positive and responsive policies that cater for this demographic spread. Next years Council elections will be very interesting and the year ahead will see all elected Council members doing their best to get re-elected.

    It is not a casual handouts being looked for as this matter escalates – but just a fair deal that measures up with what every other Council already offers for pool admissions.

  • There was a wonderful and touching ‘Interest Notification’ received during the week from a mother who suffers a degenerative condition who has a daughter who suffers the same condition but is far worse. When you hear of these stories your heart just wants to yield whatever it can to help – this program is targeting the older citizen group living with disabilities – but surely including children suffering with disabilities can also become part of the program’s agenda. I am advised that funding for any program like this one will have very specific guidelines as to who can be part of the program. Let me say that whilst this program is in its development stage – nothing is ruled out on in for certain. All I can offer at this stage is encouragement that I will do whatever I can to see that nobody is excluded from the program because of age, sex or level of disability.
  • Traffic through this website is increasing and that is pleasing – it is the best way to keep abreast of developments and news about the program. During the week I posted the “DRAFT” rules and aims of the proposed Association. Let me state this is not in any way final – I am one person trying to get this program up and running – I have no experience in public funding programs – I have never dealt with Carer groups before – my learning curve is very steep and I need help – urgently.The best advice given to date is that I need a Steering Committee to help – I need it now and I am asking for anyone out there who might want to become a part of this program – please put your hand up and come on-board – I promise you that with what I have planned in my mind for this program – it will be some sort of ride – of course it could all ‘flame and burn’ unless Council get behind the program.

    My past experience has seen me take on many big issues – I am yet to lose a battle I really wanted to win and I can tell you that this project is not something where failure will be acceptable. I am passionate about many things – yet when I see an underdog type situation and a ‘system verses the less privileged’ battle developing – it draws me like no other battle – this battle needs to be fought and won to help preserve our humanity and our perseverance where those who can help – should help.

  • I met with the local State Member for Hervey Bay – Mr Ted Sorrensen through the week and he was very encouraging in his support for the program. He provided funding information and suggested a letter to the State Minister for Disabilities – Annastacia Palaszczuk – this submission has been drafted and will appear in the next weekly update. It will also be sent to the Federal Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs – Jenny Macklin. Efforts were also made to meet with the Member for Maryborough, Mr Chris Foley – with his heavy schedule leading into next weeks sitting of Parliament – if has been left that Mr Sorrensen will update him about the program until we get the opportunity to meet personally.

    Along with the encouraging signs from the Federal Member Mr Neville the previous week – nobody believes anything other than this program will be great for Fraser Coast residents. I don’t believe that these gentlemen were just speaking ‘politically’ or giving me the ‘time of day’ – I believe they all showed genuine interest in wanting this program to become successful.

… Until next week … stay safe and please submit your ‘interest notification forms’ – either as a participant of a volunteer of some description – see form above for more information …. cheers for now … Ian.

_________________________________________________________

FCATA – Blog 4

Hi all –

Yes – I know – the ABC Wide Bay radio interview was again delayed.  I spoke with Wayne Shearman who I did the interview with after his show and he was apologetic – the story got kicked because the QLD opposition leader was in the studio.   I am told either tomorrow morning at 6:45 or 7:15 – but more likely Monday at either of those same times … alls well and he will send me a audio file and the interview will be posted on-line via this site.

The overnight stats from people having a peak at the FCATA webpage was much higher than expected – there were some glitches with the link from the Chronicle’s on-line link that returned ‘404’ messages.  Indications of interest are still the real measure of how the community sees this new program and I urge all those who want to be a participant in the program to indicate their interest.  Please – any other interest indications are also very welcome as this program will not be able to function in its initial stages without volunteers and their generous offers to help.

Plan to spend part of the day setting up a new independent FCATA blog site … let you all know when its done about the new address …

talk later … Ian.