Simultaneous closure of two pools irks users

The Molyneux Aquatic Centre. Photo by Liam Cavanagh.
The Molyneux Aquatic Centre. Photo: Liam Cavanagh.
The closure of both public pools in Central Otago at the same time over the school holidays for maintenance has upset pool users.

Both the Molyneux Aquatic Centre in Alexandra and the Cromwell Swim Centre were due to be closed for maintenance over the school holidays.

Molyneux Aquatic Centre was to be shut in the first week from July 9-13 and Cromwell for three days in the second week from July 16-19.

However, council parks and recreation manager Gordon Bailey said that as contractors were fixing Molyneux Pool, a fault was found in an oil balancing unit in a compressor and a new part had to be ordered from Australia.

Therefore, the Alexandra pool had to remain shut until Thursday, July 19, so there would be three days when no pool in the district would be available, as other pools in the district were closed over winter.

Pauline Stade, of Alexandra, said her children used the pool and did not understand why maintenance was often done during school holidays.

"It's a choice, scheduled maintenance, so why schedule it when it affects the primary users of the pool, who are children?"

Mrs Stade said she would be happy if the council credited a swimming lesson back to parents in the term time to allow for maintenance.

"We've never been offered other solutions . . . it's not fair for the kids."

Pool user Amie Pont, of Ranfurly, said she travelled to Alexandra or Cromwell over the winter when the Ranfurly pool was shut.

"I understand these things need to happen . . . but to have both [pools] closed is not OK. I don't think it's very good planning."

Mr Bailey said the pools were closed during the school holidays as there were "unstructured activities" in the holidays, compared with the term time when there were more forward bookings.

"While this is really inconvenient and regrettable, the closure in the holidays actually affects less people than in term time . . . previous closures have generally also been in school holiday periods for this same reason."

Mr Bailey said the decision to close pools in school holidays would "be reviewed".

"It will depend on the future forward bookings and what maintenance requirements are needed to keep our pools operating safely."

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