If all goes to plan, Newlands Swimming Pool should open by the end of this week.
In a media statement released last week, the City of Cape Town said it was anticipated that Newlands pool would reopen on Friday 27 January.
People’s Post reported on the delayed opening of the public facility last year.
After five years of being closed for repairs, the pool finally opened to the public in March 2021.
It closed for the winter season at the end of May 2021 with plans to reopen in November last year.
However, a chlorine gas leak detected in the plant room in October last year put paid to these plans with a new opening date provisionally set for Thursday 1 December last year.
With this deadline also having come and gone, residents are desperate for the new one to be met.
Mikhail Manuel, councillor for Ward 59, says he has been inundated by inquiries regarding the pool’s status. So numerous have these been that Manuel even created a “Daily Newlands Pool Updates” emailing list which sends subscribers direct daily updates.
In the update sent on Thursday 19 January, Manuel wrote that, as communicated previously, the distribution of chlorine using the pipe network was faulty.
“As an alternative method, the officials have been conducting manual dosing of chlorine and conducting several tests to ensure that the water quality meets safety standards.”
He went on to say that, due to the lower chlorine levels during various repairs, algae growth had been faster than normal.
“Today, the team swept the entire pool of the algae and will be undertaking back washing tomorrow.
“Upon completion, the officials will undertake further tests at the inlets and outlets to continue to check that chlorine distribution is adequate. Once the pool has reopened, manual chlorine dosing will continue throughout each day to ensure water quality levels.”
When People’s Post contacted the City last week for feedback on the progress at Newlands pool, Patricia van der Ross, Mayco member for community services and health, said: “Site inspections on the work done on the filtration system at Newlands Swimming Pool are still underway, in order to ascertain the way forward.”
In the meantime, the City has informed residents that, with the start of the new academic year last week, operating times at community pools have been scaled back.
Going forward until the end of season, operating hours at the 16 operational community pools – Bellville, Bellville South, Bonteheuwel, Brown’s Farm, Delft, Goodwood, Hanover Park, Kensington, Khayelitsha, Lentegeur, Muizenberg, Parow North, Ruyterwacht, Trafalgar, Wesfleur (Atlantis) and Wynberg – will be limited to Thursday and Fridays, after school from 14:00 until 17:00, as well as Saturdays and Sundays, from 10:00 until 17:00.
Should Newlands pool open at the end of this week, these operating hours will apply there too.
The indoor swimming pools in Retreat, Blue Downs and Strand will continue to operate daily, from 10:00 until 17:00, while Sea Point and Long Street are open daily from 07:00 until 19:00.
The City has warned, however, that loadshedding might throw a spanner in the works.
Explaining that swimming pool plant rooms are reliant on electricity to circulate water and distribute chemicals to maintain water quality standards, the City stated that the stage of loadshedding affecting a particular area may impact planned opening times.
“The City cannot risk public health and that is why our facilities management may decide to close during outages, if their assessments indicate that the water quality has been compromised. “I ask that our patrons please cooperate with staff in the event that a facility has to close due to loadshedding,” says Van der Ross.
Manuel says loadshedding has a direct impact on Newlands Pool.
“The pool pump is not backed up by a generator. Therefore, any loadshedding, and especially severe loadshedding, affects water quality and the safety of using the pool.”
He asks that residents refrain from visiting the pool while the final preparations for its reopening are underway.