THE closure of Bemboka Pool for the rest of the summer has angered residents.
The Bega Valley Shire Council run facility first closed on January 20 following the discovery of an onsite chlorine leak (BDN 24/1).
A HAZMAT team was called to assess the leak and the Environment Protection Agency was advised.
Last week the council’s aquatic facilities coordinator, Le Webb, announced the pool would remain closed for the rest of the season.
“While initial assessments had returned positive results, other areas of concern had been identified during the investigation,” she said.
“Close inspection of the initial fault and pool infrastructure identified a number of repairs necessary to bring the pool into line with Environmental Health and WorkCover requirements.
“This unfortunately means that Bemboka will be without a swimming pool until the next swimming season commences in October 2014.”
Signage at the pool states the pool is closed until further notice.
Ellen Bevitt, who works at Bemboka Public School, said the closure affects the pupils at the school as well as the wider community.
“We have to bus the children to Candelo Pool, which is time and expense,” she said.
“People in this town will really need to get up and protest because otherwise we could find ourselves without a pool forever.
“It’s all well and good for the council to say kids can go to another pool or the beach, but many parents are not confident their child is a strong enough swimmer for the beach.
“It’s a vital service for Bemboka.”
Others have taken to BVSC’s Facebook page to vent their anger at council.
“They say it is not up to standard, but the question is why not?” Bemboka resident Bronwen Allen wrote.
“Is this the day BVSC has been waiting for and finally has the excuse to close our pool?
“The local river is lovely, but unfortunately not a great place to learn to swim.
“I truly hope the council is true to its word on this matter and we have a safe place for our kids to swim next season.”
The pool has been staffed by council employees this season, but was run by contractor Jon Tapper for 10 years prior to this.
The BDN was unable to contact Mr Tapper, but residents have reported he had a long-running battle with the council over acquiring additional funds for maintenance.
Dave Allen of Bemboka contacted the BDN to ask, “How did council allow it to fall into such a state of disrepair, given that it is closed six months of the year allowing ample time for maintenance and repairs?”
“This season they could not even mow the lawn, yet there are more signs, rules and regulations regarding the pool than ever, but none seemingly related to a decent inspection, maintenance and repair schedule for the facility,” Mr Allen said.
Aquatic facilities coordinator Ms Webb said the “wheels are in motion” in regard to the pool’s repair.
“Specialist contractors are being sought to assist us in bringing the pool up to standard,” she said.
“Regular patrons are assured that season ticket holders will able to use the Candelo Pool free of charge during this period.
“Ticket holders can also choose to have their fees refunded covering the remaining season if we are unable to reopen the pool until October.
“In addition, we will provide a free transport service to school groups wishing to use the Candelo Pool,” Ms Webb said.