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Residents of Blue Downs and its surrounding areas are already reaping the benefits of a brand new swimming pool where they can cool off from the summer heat and learn how to swim and train – while also being secure in the knowledge that the facility they’re enjoying has no adverse effects on the environment.
[ad#Google Adsense 125×125 Blog Post]The new indoor swimming pool was officially opened on Thursday 4 February by Cllr Garin Cavanagh, Chairperson: Community Services Portfolio Committee (Amenities, Sport and Recreation).
“It is a welcome facility, especially for the community of Blue Downs and its surrounds,” said Cavanagh.
The facility is unique in that it uses natural resources and elements, meaning it has less of an impact on the city’s water and electricity resources.
Rainwater is collected in four 10 000 litre silos, which form the four cornerstones of the building housing the pool. The rainwater is then transferred into six 5 000 litre capacity holding tanks inside the building, which are then used to fill the 800 000kl pool.
The water is heated by 100 solar heating panels on the roof. A solanoid detects the panels that are most exposed to absorbing maximum sunlight throughout the day, and controls water flow direction. This heats 80% of the pool’s water. Three heater filter units are programmed to heat the pool to 27 degrees Celsius.
The pool is 25x25m, and can accommodate 10 swimming lanes. It has a seating capacity of 576 on the stands, and the building and pool together can accommodate 950 people.
A senior lifeguard and three seasonal lifeguards are on duty, while five other staff members run the building. Since the pool opened its doors in December, there has been an average of four rescues per day, highlighting not only the importance of having lifeguards, but also of teaching members of the public how to swim.
For this reason, the Learn to Swim and Come and Play programmes are important, and are actively attended. Schools and clubs such as the Blue Downs Swimming Club, Newcar, Khayelitsha Aquatics and The Greater Blue Downs Community-Based Organisation are making use of the facility.
A swimming gala that attracted over 250 youth participants was held in December 2009.
“These areas are still lacking much-needed facilities, and I am sure that by choosing Blue Downs as the spot for the pool, it will inspire the community to use it as their own and also attract other swimmers from the professional ranks to come and exchange their expertise through the City’s Learn to Swim Programmes,” said Cavanagh.
“I am also assured by Swim SA and also WP Aquatics that they are most willing to share their expertise and provide swimming equipment and also bring swimmers to Blue Downs who will qualify in 2013 as professional swimmers.
“In doing so, Blue Downs will also be able to boast that they are part of and instrumental in bringing home some medals in swimming.”
Former Executive Deputy Mayor Gawa Samuels, who is the president of the Blue Downs Swimming Club, has been closely involved in the project since it started in 2003, as part of the mayoral listening campaign at the time.
“It has taken five years to be completed, due to budget constraints, with the R31 million funding spread over that time.”
“This is a poverty trap area, with little recreational facilities, so this will keep the youth and everybody busy with something positive to do,” she said.