Pool confidence drains

Sunbury Aquatic and Leisure Centre (Damjan Janevski). 376666_03

Zoe Moffatt

Sunbury residents have once again had the opening of their 25-metre indoor pool delayed, with a significant defect in one of the final stages of the repair works.

Hume council announced on November 23 that there was a significant defect in the paintwork and said it does not know the timeframe for re-opening, and is awaiting advice from the contractors, who are investigating.

The announcement comes after a shocking year of setbacks for the pool, since a leak was discovered on May 12. At a meeting in October, council said the repair and improvement bill totalled $1,147,594.

At a council meeting on November 27, 11 public questions were submitted in regards to the pool at the Sunbury Aquatic and Leisure Centre.

Director city services and living Hector Gaston said the new paintwork was peeling in two areas at the base of the pool, which was not leaking.

“The responsibility for this defeat lies with the contractor and they will pay for its repair,” he said.

“Council has provided a range of membership discounts and service credits to minimise the impacts of the closure of the 25-metre pool. These will continue to apply until the pool reopens.”

For Sunbury resident Georgina Oh Morrissey, the pool was her space to exercise and a way for her to control her blood pressure.

“I was using the pool three times a week… to maintain my blood pressure due to my sleep apnea problems,” she said.

“I was just patiently waiting for it to reopen and was going to Craigieburn once a week but it was taking me about 45 mins [to drive] there and up to an hour on the way back.

“I’m getting busy so I don’t do any swimming anymore. It has affected [me], as it helped me maintain my blood pressure, strengthen my heart, it helped me to relax and with my sleeping.”

Mrs Oh Morrissey said she did try to use the outdoor pool when it opened, but found it too dirty and windy.

“If the outdoor pool was in good condition the residents wouldn’t be so frustrated, they’ve left us with no option,” she said.

“I’ve already lost my confidence as to when [the indoor pool] will reopen. It’s taken too long, it’s really disappointing. It’s been delay after delay.”

The pool closure has impacted participants from disability and services support provider Distinctive Options (DO), with assistant coordinator Hannah Chalker saying it has been a big disruption.

“For some, the pool is the only form of exercise they engage in. Instead, they have been travelling to the Brimbank Aquatic and Leisure Centre which takes up more of their day,” she said.

“Hydrotherapy is an important part of the health and wellbeing of a number of our participants.

“Although they can still access the warm water pool, it has been more difficult with the limited space when half the pool is used for swimming lessons.”

At the November meeting, Mr Gaston said council had begun scoping the service and infrastructure plan for Hume’s leisure facilities.

“Once completed, this plan will guide council’s future decision making for aquatic facilities in Sunbury and across Hume.

“After [the plan] is completed, council will be developing a specific Sunbury Aquatic and Leisure Centre masterplan.

“This masterplan will guide future investment in the site and ensure the facility is well positioned to meet the needs of Sunbury’s growing community.”