The council will launch a fresh management tender process before the end of 2021 as it looks to the future operation of its four pools.
It follows Port Macquarie-Hastings Council and BlueFit making the difficult joint decision to terminate the agreement for the management of the pools in Port Macquarie, Laurieton, Wauchope and Kendall.
BlueFit made the initial approach to the council about the terms of the contract, citing the impact of fires, floods and COVID-19 on the leisure industry as a whole.
BlueFit CEO Todd McHardy said the fires, floods and the pandemic had been a nightmare.
He said it had been a very difficult two years for the industry.
"We were the first to close and the last to open, and perceived to be risky venues, which has been really tough for operators around the country in a world where we are forever trying to promote our health benefit and our social impacts," Mr McHardy said.
"It has been quite devastating."
The COVID lockdowns and dealing with changing restrictions took a toll.
BlueFit was awarded the management of the Port Macquarie, Wauchope, Laurieton and Kendall pools in 2019 following a competitive tender process.
But the unforeseen economic impacts of COVID-19, and the ramifications on the leisure and aquatic industry, resulted in the council and BlueFit mutually agreeing to part ways from the current agreement.
The council will re-advertise for tenders before the end of 2021 with a view to awarding a new contract in March 2022.
In the meantime, BlueFit will continue to manage the operation of the four pools over summer in an effort to minimise any disruption to member services or the delivery of pool programming, even if a transition of management is forthcoming.
Mr McHardy assured the community that swimming would continue as normal and there would be no drop in quality or safety over summer.
"We don't change our approach in any way, shape or form," he said.
Mr McHardy said BlueFit would look to re-tender at this stage.
He recognised the local staff and added BlueFit had built a really good partnership with the council.
"It is a great swimming community in Port and all four pools are great regional facilities that serve their communities well," Mr McHardy said.
Council's group manager recreation, buildings and community Lucilla Marshall thanked BlueFit for its service.
"As an organisation which has faced its own challenges with COVID-19, council is sympathetic to BlueFit's situation," Ms Marshall said.
"We are thankful to them for the services they have provided and we look forward to building a relationship with the successful tenderer from early 2022 onwards."
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