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Murray Bridge swimming pool season should be longer, users say
More than 500 people have petitioned the Murray Bridge council about extending the operating season at the city’s swimming centre.
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Murray Bridge’s swimming season needs to be extended to meet community demand, users say.
More than 500 people have signed an online petition calling for the Murray Bridge Swimming Centre to be kept open for more than five months per year.
Locals Lynette Juergens and Vicki McArdle spoke to Murray Bridge councillors about the issue last week.
They asked for the pool to be kept open for an extra month or two each year, including through the April school holidays.
With the hydrotherapy pool at the Murray Bridge hospital closed since the arrival of COVID-19, the public pool was needed more than ever, they said.
“People do use the (public) pool for rehab; they come in on their walkers on the ramp,” Ms McArdle said.
“A few people have said they wouldn’t be walking if not for the pool.”
Even morning swim sessions – rather than full days – would help if the costs were too great, they said.
They also encouraged councillors to think about progressing stages two, three and four of a 2016 master plan for the Adelaide Road swimming centre, which envisioned indoor learn-to-swim and rehab pools, a cafe and a gym.
Only the first stage of the $32 million plan was ever completed; the council has not yet budgeted for any further upgrades.
Ms McArdle said the lack of suitable facilities for babies and toddlers was a particular problem.
It wasn’t ideal that promising young swimmers who wanted to train year-round had to travel to Mount Barker or Victor Harbor, either.
Hospital pool will reopen when COVID case numbers fall
But he acknowledged that the closure of the heated pool at the hospital changed things.
“I’ll be disappointed if they have made the decision to close it (permanently),” he said.
A spokesperson for the Riverland Mallee Coorong Local Health Network told Murray Bridge News the risk of COVID-19 transmission at the hydrotherapy pool was high, since it was indoors and poorly ventilated.
They expected it would remain closed until the number of active COVID cases in Murray Bridge fell below 100.
There were 405 active cases in the district on Wednesday.
“Some hydrotherapy clients are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 due to underlying health conditions,” the LHN said in a statement.
“The situation is reviewed regularly by our incident management team.
“We will inform the community once a reopening date is identified.”
Meanwhile, council staff will prepare a report on the potential costs and benefits of extending the swimming centre season.
CEO Michael Sedgman estimated that opening the pool cost up to $120,000 per month during summer, and that heating its water to 27 degrees in winter would be still more expensive.
It will be up to councillors to decide whether that cost would be worth it.
Sign the petition: www.change.org/murraybridgepool.
See the Murray Bridge Swimming Centre master plan: www.murraybridge.sa.gov.au.