City’s pools in a state

2015-05-11 07:57
Workers busy with the revamp of the Berg Street swimming pool.

Workers busy with the revamp of the Berg Street swimming pool. (Ian Carbutt)

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THE Concerned Swimming Fraternity (CSF) has criticised the Msunduzi Municipality over the “appalling” state of the city’s pools.

Bringing six of Pietermaritzburg’s pools under the spotlight, the CSF has estimated it will cost millions of rands to repair the pools’ facilities which, according to them, have suffered damage due to mismanagement.

As result, the pools may not be ready for use by September when an influx of swimmers will get set for the start of the swimming season.

The CSF said, apart from issues of vandalism and broken pumps or filters, millions of litres in treated water is wasted on a monthly basis at the Northdale and Eastwood pools, which have large leaks.

With the start of the swimming season in September, CSF member Jay Jugwanth said he is concerned that school pupils and residents will have no public swimming facilities at all.

Before undergoing its current renovation, the Berg Street swimming pool was a mess of vegetable waste dumped there by vendors who trade near the premises; and faeces from homeless vagrants who were sleeping in the change rooms at night.

According to Jugwanth, the estimated cost of renovating the pool and all its facilities will be more than R2 million because of the extensive damage. “The pumps and filters were removed and taken to Sobantu so there aren’t any now. The copper pipes were stolen and the change rooms need a complete overhaul,” Jugwanth said.

Msunduzi Municipality spokesperson Nqobile Madonda said the pool is currently being refurbished at a contract value of R2 283 790.

It is presently a construction site and has 24-hour security.

Jugwanth added that the Northdale Olympic swimming pool on Newholmes Way has lost more than five million litres of water since September last year due to a large leak that gushes water into Cyprus Way behind the pool.

In response, Madonda said they are aware of the leak.

“It will be assessed and repaired as soon as funds are available,” Madonda said.

According to Jugwanth, with winter nearing, the Buchanan Street Baths in the CBD cannot serve its primary function as an enclosed heated pool because the heaters are broken.

“This has resulted in the facility being closed during winter for years now,” Jugwanth said.

Madonda acknowledged the currently installed heaters do not heat the pool’s water adequately.

She said new heaters have been ordered and will be installed as soon as they arrive during this month.

Plagued by filtration problems, water in the Alexandra swimming pool frequently turns green. Jugwanth alleges that when the water turns green, it is drained and disposed of before the pool is cleaned and refilled.

Madonda said the reason for the filtration problems is due to the main pipes being corroded.

“Funds have been made available to replace the pipes during the winter shutdown period,” Madonda said.

In Sobantu, Jugwanth said the pool there has fallen victim to negligence, resulting in its physical structure, toilets and other facilities needing an upgrade.

Madonda said a contractor has submitted a quote to redesign the tanks and piping.

In Eastwood, after the community allegedly vandalised the fencing and a leak which cost the facility millions of litres of water per month, Madonda said the perimeter concrete fencing was repaired at the start of the swimming season last year.

“One of the major leaks was also repaired at the beginning of the season and a followup will be conducted during the winter shutdown period,” Madonda said.

“We cannot run away from the fact that a lot still needs to be done with regards to restoring swimming pools to the pristine level expected.

“However we should take cognisance of the fact that any kind of maintenance and rehabilitation works needs to be planned and budgeted for, for it to be successful. Swimming pools will be rehabilitated as and when financial resources are available”

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