Members from the West Coast Swimming Club say that it is critical planning for the new pool facility begins now to ensure it will open before the current Port Lincoln Leisure Centre facility at the marina closes in 2015.
The facility, owned by Sarin Group, will shut its doors in 2015, but a new facility for Port Lincoln is yet to be on the table as was promised in the lead up to the last council election in 2010. The club's president Todd George said the process must begin now to prevent a gap of time between the current facility closing and the new pool opening its doors.
"It's critical to get a timeframe now otherwise there's going to be that gap," he said. "With the timeline to when this pool closes, you're looking at a year to build and 12 to 18 months to plan. "There is no room for overlap."
He said it was important to recognise that not only Port Lincoln swimmers would be affected, as people from Lock, Tumby Bay, Cummins, Cleve and even Ceduna came to the pool regularly. Members say of the 130 children registered at the swimming club, more than half are now swimming competitively. All 130 of the registered children use the facility at the leisure centre a minimum of one to two times a week.
West Coast Swimming Club member Sonia Ford said the swimming club was yet to receive a progress report or any information about a new facility from the Port Lincoln City Council. "I would like to see the money committed and I would like to see a time frame," she said. "I, for one, won't live in Port Lincoln if there is not a pool. "That's how important swimming is for me." Mrs Ford said with two children swimming and a third now learning how to swim, she had already put in a decade of commitment to ensuring her children were swimming competitively. "I'm at the point of enjoying it now after 10 years," she said. "We are down here for four hours at a time. "The idea of having a joint use facility on an education site would be ideal ... and I think the solution is just around the corner. "It's done, we need it in writing now."
Fellow member Anne-Marie Hammond said the importance of the pool stretched further than just competitive swimming, it was also about teaching children how to swim, which she said was crucial considering Port Lincoln's coastal location. "The most critical thing to do as a parent in your life is to teach your kid to swim." she said.
Sonia Ford is our publicity officer and would love to hear of noteworthy news items from our swimming community!