December 31, 2012
One sporting federation has stepped out and asked the National Sports Authority to review, and quickly make changes to the fees that are quoted for the usage of local sporting facilities. President of the Bahamas Swimming Federation (BSF) Algernon Cargill is afraid that his program will lose members because they simply can not afford to pay to train or host meets at the Betty Kelly Kenning Aquatic Centre. There are 12 clubs under the federation's umbrella, eight are located in New Providence.
All eight clubs host meets every year, with the Aquatic Centre as the venue. According to Cargill, the clubs are being charged $300 every time they want to host a meet. That fee does not include training in the only 50-meter pool in New Providence. Cargill is afraid that the high cost will drive interested swimmers away and discourage clubs from hosting meets. "There is a high fee attached to the pool usage and they want the clubs to pay to train at the pool," said Cargill.
"Many members believe that it goes against the grain, since the pool was a donation to The Bahamas. They have never paid before, so we have had a series of meetings with the sports authority, trying to resolve this matter. "It is dampening the sport, as clubs no longer have the same access or benefits from the facility before the National Sports Authority was formed. We believe that we can work out this situation, through negotiation. But we will need to move as quickly as possible."
It was revealed that this recent off-season winter training, local swimmers who used the pool to train were without heat. This, according to the source, has also left some of the club members upset because many of them were paying the fees. Cargill was made aware of the problem and said "it is expensive to run the heaters, but it is dampening the sport". He said some resolution needs to be made before the season officially starts next year.
"We have clubs that aren't able to train at the facility because they can not afford to. They can not afford to host meets there either. The rules took effect in July or August of this year, but the swimming season didn't open until September. "Since then, we have had one meet at the pools because clubs just can't afford it. This will definitely affect the swimmers progress for CARIFTA or any of the major international swim meets because they need that pool to train.
To have to pay a substantial amount of money to train, which they have never paid before and it is not included in their budget really will have a significant impact on the sport." The first meet scheduled on the BSF's calendar will be hosted by the Barracuda Swim Club. That meet is set for January 11-12. No venue is listed.
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