Repairs to Retreat pool have finally started, and the water temperature has been increased after a number of complaints from swimming club members and other pool users.
As the cold weather persisted, many people had flocked to Retreat’s heated pools – a key feature of the facility. However, many found the water too cold to swim in and complained that the broken windows contributed to unbearably cold temperatures inside the facility.
George Richards, who regularly uses the facility, said the pool’s water temperature was supposed to be 27 degrees but the water had been icy cold in recent months – with no explanation from management.
“The water was icy cold and I’ve had to watch how kids from the aquatics club had to swim in the cold water – some refused. Even our adult club members refused to swim in the water so no training happened for a while
“This is really poor service. Does this mean we just have to accept what is offered to us because we are in a ’poor’ community? This sort of treatment would never have been tolerated if this was in a more affluent community.”
When Southern Mail visited the facility, Alicia Crouster, her nine-year-old son and two of his friends were leaving after having only spent a half an hour at the facility.
“They got in, felt how cold the water was and couldn’t stand it any longer.”
Ms Crouster said she usually took her son and his friends to the pool on the days they did not attend school.
“They enjoy playing in the water and it’s a better option than them playing in the streets. Lately they haven’t been able to enjoy it as much as they used to because of how cold the water is.” They spent only half an hour at the pool, undressed, warmed up and left.
Ms Crouster said broken windows had also contributed to the cold temperatures in the facility.
“We as the community were happy about the upgrade of the facility but recently Retreat pools haven’t been the same and there are always problems.”
“It’s sad to see how people had to stop swimming at the pool for now or had to start paying gym fees to keep their swimming training going,” said Mr Richards.
“’I can’t afford gym so I have to stick it out at the pool but to see how our kids suffer was the last straw.”
Zahid Badroodien, the City’s Mayco member for community services and health said he was aware of the issues at the facility but insisted it was not as a result of poor management.
“The repair work for swimming pool heating pumps at indoor swimming pools is a city-wide challenge and not just affecting Retreat swimming pool. We regularly engage with all users regarding the progress regarding repair work and are happy to further engage with concerned residents on this matter.”
The previous incidents of vandalism had been reported in April 2019 when the plant room was burgled. The filters were damaged, pipes, taps and paving stolen and the toilets vandalised.
In June last year the toilet window was smashed with a large stone. Both incidents had been reported to the police.
In total an estimated R3.5 million rand was spent on repairs and maintenance including electrical and plumbing repair work.
Mr Badroodien encouraged residents to immediately report acts of vandalism or concerns regarding the facility directly to the facility team on 021 701 1513 or to 107 (landline) or 021 480 7700 (mobile).