KLANG Municipal Council (MPK) has closed the Pandamaran Swimming Pool after financial losses hit an estimated RM625,000 over a seven-month period.
Council president Datuk Mohamad Yasid Bidin cited “rising maintenance costs” as the reason.
“Our swimming pool has been saddled with exorbitant water bills and numerous repairs expenses,” he said.
Mohamad Yasid chose to pull the plug on the public facility and ordered it closed to enable the council to conduct repairs on pipe leakages that were blamed for the sky-rocketing maintenance costs.
MPK is said to be scouting for a candidate to operate the pool complex and hopes to see it reopened by April 2017 under new management.
Closure of the swimming pool since Aug 12, had caused regular swimmers to protest on social media.
“For the first seven months of 2016, we earned an estimated RM91,000 from ticket sales and pool rental but our estimated expenses stood at RM716,000.
“Our biggest bill was from water usage amounting to RM486,000. I believe there is underground pipe leakage that needs to be addressed,” he said.
He noted that in 2014, MPK recorded a loss of RM440,000 in the public pool operations, with a water bill of RM219,000 while the electricity bill was about RM140,000.
“Again, in 2015, the council faced an estimated financial loss of RM445,000 with the water bill at RM150,000 while the electricity bill hit RM179,000,” he added.
“The council is losing hundreds of thousands of ringgit over the months through utility bills, salaries, staff overtime and repairs just to keep the swimming pool open. Our heads of departments collectively made a tough decision to close the facility,” said Mohamad Yasid.
He said repairing the aging mechanical pumps and network of pipes had cost more than RM100,000 since 2014.
He added that MPK had lost about RM1.5mil over the past three years in operating the swimming pool.
According to a senior staff, it is the council’s second wave of austerity drive involving sports facilities.
In September, the council raised the rental rates of Pandamaran Hockey Stadium from RM15 to RM35 an hour with a refundable deposit.
Now sources said that MPK would likely hand over the swimming pool to a third party to manage.
Asked about the talk of new management for the public swimming pool, Mohamad Yasid confirmed that MPK was in discussion with Selangor Sports Council (MSN) to manage the swimming pool for a token fee of RM10 a month.
“Our council does not have the expertise to manage a swimming pool, so it is better to give it to a sports body to operate the facility that will be able to serve the public.
“We are also looking at private operators that are keen to manage this facility.
“Of course, then a suitable fee will be negotiated with the company who want to operate the swimming pool,” he added.
When approached for comment, MSN Selangor Youth assistant officer Khilmi Mohd Sanuri said the council was in the process of evaluating the sports facility.
“Selangor Swimming Association and people experienced in managing swimming pools will be consulted. It is too early to confirm anything at this moment,” he added.
MPK records show that 70,000 people, including 33,000 children, used the Pandamaran Swimming Pool last year, averaging about 6,000 users a month.
In June 2015, MPK raised ticket prices where adults were charged RM4 each while children and senior citizens paid a nominal RM1 from Tuesday to Friday. On Saturday, Sunday and public holidays, the council imposed a RM5 per adult, while children and senior citizens paid RM1.50 each.
It is free entry for the disabled.