Murray Bridge Swimming Centre supaslide will be free to use | VIDEO

A 48-metre waterslide being built in Murray Bridge will be free for all to use after a public outcry made councillors change their plans.

A fee of $1 per ride had been proposed for the "supaslide" being built at Murray Bridge Swimming Centre, in addition to the pool entry fee of $6 for adults and $4.50 for children.

All-day passes, season passes and family passes had also been planned.

But Councillor Andrew Baltensperger decided to push for a free waterslide after reflecting on the wishes of the battlers, pensioners and families in the local community.

"I'm greatly concerned the scheduled fees and charges for the supaslide may impact our most vulnerable citizens," he told a council meeting on Monday night.

He suggested the extra influx of people to the swimming centre would offset the loss of income from the slide.

Council chief executive officer Michael Sedgman said the $1 fee had been proposed to offset the cost of the two extra part-time lifeguards who would be employed to work on the slide: one at the top, one at the bottom.

That cost would add up to $46,000 over a summer, he said.

"Based on our research of other South Australian councils who operate these facilities, the fees adopted by this council compare quite favourably," he said.

The fee would have gelled with the council's philosophy of making the swimming centre cost-neutral, or raising just enough money through fees and snack sales to maintain it without turning a profit.

I'm greatly concerned the scheduled fees and charges for the supaslide may impact our most vulnerable citizens.

Andrew Baltensperger

Mayor Brenton Lewis said people, including visitors from outside Murray Bridge, would flock to use the supaslide regardless of whether a fee was imposed.

"Anyone who doesn't want to pay the fee can go to the river and have a swim," he said.

But a majority of the councillors present sided with Cr Baltensperger.

They voted 5-3 to ditch the proposed supaslide fee.

A water playground for toddlers and young children will also feature at the swimming centre when it reopens this summer.

Councillors will have to figure out where to find the money to pay for the two extra lifeguards when the council's budget comes up for a quarterly review in about October.


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