Moyne Shire councillors have expressed grave concerns about the future of the Belfast Aquatics leisure centre after it emerged during Tuesday's council meeting that the centre's insurance policy was about to lapse.
Councillor Damian Gleeson raised the issue as a matter of urgent business, saying the centre would have to close its doors within the week because it had been unable to renew its policy, which would expire on March 8.
"This facility provides such an enormous benefit to the town and visitors alike," he said.
"Unfortunately it's found itself in a position where... the future of the facility is under threat. So I ask that council might consider that we take whatever actions are required to ensure the continued operation of the Belfast Aquatics centre."
Moyne Shire acting director of community and corporate services Peter Brown said a council officer had met with Belfast Aquatics' committee of management and said the situation was complex.
"Clearly there's a significant issue, and one that's looking like it can't be resolved by the 8th. There's a refusal by their existing broker to provide insurance cover. They've sought cover from other companies and that has been unsuccessful," he said.
"There is very little time for us to do much."
IN OTHER NEWS:
Cr James Purcell said how lucky Port Fairy and the shire had been to have a facility like Belfast Aquatics for so long.
"This is a volunteer committee who have looked after this facility really really well on a shoestring for a long, long time and council have been very lucky that they've done that, seriously, very lucky," he said.
"It is a great asset for the shire, used extensively by people within the shire and we need to do what we can."
But he asked why the council was only hearing about the critical situation at such a late stage.
"The question that needs to be asked is we are seven days away, surely the insurance company would have given them more notice than this.
"We're here at the last moment looking at this trying to solve it; if they had more notice it's a pity they didn't give us more notice."
Council was only informed of the issue on Monday.
Moyne Shire chief executive Bill Millard asked councillors to let him look further into the issue and report back with options.
"Let Mr Brown and myself come up with a set of facts and challenges around the matter. We will make some of our own enquiries through our own insurance companies and we will look at whatever options we can provide. We'll get some advice back to you within the next 24 hours or so," he said.
On Wednesday afternoon the council released a statement in which Mr Millard said those investigations were still ongoing.
"Once we have the information about what any support could look like and what impacts it may have on council, I will work through that with councillors urgently," he said.
The Standard understands Mr Millard will be meeting with councillors on Thursday morning to discuss the available options.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content:
Now just one tap with our new app: Digital subscribers now have the convenience of faster news, right at your fingertips with The Standard: