LISTEN: Carol McPartland gives her view on how this will impact the swimming club
Live Active Leisure confirm that they cannot bring swimming back to Perth before September 2021 after considering a ‘range of options.’
Working with Perth and Kinross Council, they looked to several alternatives such as a ‘stand-alone’ pool, reconfiguring their training pool, utilising temporary external heating and filtration units as well as recommissioning the Aviva headquarters site’s former Healthworks.
Paul Cromwell, CEO of Live Active Leisure said: “It is very disappointing that I must inform customers that unfortunately, these options have been ruled out. A temporary pool would take approximately 9 – 12 months to put in place.”
Perth’s pool has been out of action since August when floods damaged the plant room, the room which runs all of the behind the scenes equipment, leaving it broken until contactors can fix it.
Consultants say that it will take an approximate 12 months to repair these damages before the pool can be up and running again.
Perth City Swim Club President, Carol McPartland, says that ‘it’s a difficult situation for everyone with the current pandemic.’
She said: “After many months of surveys and looking for other out of the box thinking ideas, to try get some sort of pool provision for the community, that has been knocked on its head.
“And the repairs are going to take at least a year to complete, so we are without our home until at least September.”
Swimming is a passion for everyone involved and the alternatives have been awkward work solutions so far.
Grateful for the help offered to use Crieff’s pool, Mrs McPartland says ‘the availability of the pool doesn’t fit with young swimmers, during weekday nights, and being able to have them bright eyed and bushy tailed for school the next morning.’
‘We also have had fantastic support from Scottish Swimming, they have been able to give us access to the national aquatics facility at the university of Stirling’ says Mrs McPartland, but now Stirling are in tier 4 and travel is no longer permitted out of Perth and Kinross either.
However, the team at Live Active Leisure say that looking to set up other projects would just keep the main pool closed for longer.
Mr Cromwell added that: “Reconfiguring the existing training pool would take at least 6 months and would create a high risk of negatively impacting on the wider reinstatement works which is progressing, which could therefore result in an extended closure of the whole facility.”
Now the organisation is turning its attention to what can be done in the meantime.
Commenting, Mr Cromwell said: “’We will now focus our full attention to the two principle priorities over the course of this challenging period.
“Firstly, we will do everything we can to support key user groups, clubs and customers by providing access to alternative programmes and venues in the area, and secondly, ensure that the reinstatement works at Perth Leisure Pool is completed on time, and of course, if we are able, try and bring the reopening of Perth Leisure Pool ahead of the anticipated September 2021 reopening date.”
Thinking about just what the club means to her and all of the other members, Mrs McPartland said: “Swimming is a sport that has wider appeal to all ages and abilities and provides a physical and mental workout. No matter whether you’re going for a bit of fun or to have a sort of stress release.
“And it’s just something we need to work together with Scottish Swimming, ourselves, Live Active Leisure and Perth and Kinross Council to look for solutions that can bring a balanced programme for all the users of the City of Perth during these difficult times.”
Karen Reid, Chief Executive of Perth & Kinross Council, said: “Covid-19 has sadly again restricted indoor sports activities, but nonetheless I’m grateful to the Live Active Leisure team for trying to find a temporary solution enabling our youngsters, local clubs and the public to enjoy swimming in Perth city centre whilst the Leisure Pool is repaired.
“Our joint focus now must be on getting the Pool repaired as quickly as possible and the Council continues to work closely with LAL to support this as an urgent priority.”
Mrs McPartland added: “Swimmers are mentally tough, they’re resilient, they’re focused, they pound up and down, almost in isolation of a pool, it’s a huge part of their lives, not to mention the commitment of the parents.
“So we owe it to them to be able to find a solution that we can plan now so it’s not the unknown after we get through this pandemic and we know that when we get into 2021 we can deliver a plan and a process that sees them through the next season.”