Swimming Gunnedah says the enforcement of hourly lane charges at Gunnedah swimming pool will be a "huge financial burden" for the club.
Club president Justin Hobson made a case at Wednesday's ordinary council meeting, after a council letter last month advised the club that fees of $2.20 per lane or pool space per hour would be applied from May 1. The council also proposes to increase the fee to $2.50 in 2019/20.
"I would like to ask the council to reconsider these lane charges, which would be a huge financial burden on our club and its members, and allow it to continue providing affordable swimming to the Gunnedah public - remembering that swimming is the only sport that can save a child's life," he said.
"If we have to wear a cost of that sort of money, it is going to be hard to keep people interested."
Mr Hobson said the club used up to three swimming lanes five to six days a week, amounting to 11 hours a day, which would equate to $6600 a year in fees if the lane hire charges were enforced.
"This does not include our peak times over summer where the clubs' lane usage increases," he said.
Mr Hobson told the NVI the club was aware the council could enforce the fees but never had.
A large number of our swimmers come from rural backgrounds and their families are already facing financial hardship from the drought.Justin Hobson, Swimming Gunnedah
He told councillors that members already paid a "substantial amount" to access the facilities, so "it seems extremely unfair [to] be hit with a second charge".
"On top of entry fees, parents are also faced with paying training and registration/insurance fees. The purchases of swimming costumes, goggles etc are an added expense, not to mention the cost of transporting children to the pool and throughout the area for competition to represent Gunnedah," he said.
"A large number of our swimmers come from rural backgrounds and their families are already facing financial hardship from the drought.
"The club is grateful for the wonderful facility ... however, it should not be forgotten that the children's parents are the ratepayers who help to fund its construction and ongoing operation."
Mr Hobson said the not-for-profit group was already running at an $18,000 loss due to the temporary closure of the 50m pool, subsequent congestion in the 25m pool and inability to run fundraisers at summer carnivals during the facility upgrades.
He told the NVI the club had been concerned the council might start to enforce the charges when the new pool opened to "recoup some of the costs of building it", and "it's come to fruition".
Councillor Rob Hooke encouraged Mr Hobson to make a submission to the council while the Delivery Program 2017-2021 and Operational Plan 2019/20 is on public exhibition.
On Thursday, Mr Hobson told the NVI he will "definitely" prepare a submission.