Update from the Pool Trust
The SDHB has allocated funds to fix the broken-down equipment which caused the closure of the pool on 20 May, although importantly, no timeframe has been given by the SDHB for practical completion of the work.
In the expectation that the broken-down equipment will be fixed eventually, the trust has been paying the wages of its lifeguards, even though there has been no work for them. However, as there is still no timeframe for completion of the remedial work, the trustees have had to make the difficult decision as of Friday 20 August to cease paying the lifeguards their wages and make them redundant. The trustees hope that when the pool is ready to reopen the lifeguards can be reemployed if they are available.
The trust has asked the SDHB to agree to a waiver of a major portion of what the trust pays towards the SDHB’s operating costs. This would allow the trust to become financially viable in the short term while it continued with its fundraising plan for upgrades to the pool. Upgrades are essential and urgent as equipment is failing and the pool is developing a dilapidated appearance. They will achieve savings in operating costs and make the pool a safer and more welcoming place to exercise. At this stage the SDHB has made no decision about a waiver. This is likely to be weeks and possibly months away. Without this waiver or an alternative short term solution the trust will not be in a satisfactory financial position to reopen the pool when the remedial work on the broken equipment is completed.
The trust and the SDHB will also have to address the issue of the energy source for heating the water for the pool as the coal fired plant currently servicing the hospital is likely to close down around 2028.
The trustees remain committed to advocating for the pool and the therapeutic benefits for its users.