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A Tale of Two Pools…. Phillip v. Dickson

By grunge_hippy 16 January 2011 26

As it was the first sunny day in a while, and the kiddlies have been driving me a bit batty, two invitations to go swimming couldn’t be ignored.  I enjoy an outdoor pool (despite the having to slap on the sunscreen on squirming children) than the noisy echo filled and swampy watered indoor pools.  Outdoor pools have that shimmer and sparkle that makes it inviting, rather than the stiffling chlorine drenched atmosphere of the indoor variety.  So an invite to Phillip for the morning and Dickson in the arvo was just the ticket.

Firstly, to Phillip Pool in the morning.  I used to live at Phillip Pool as a child.  It was my choice of pool, living in tuggers in the 80’s, before the big indoor pool opened up and if I wanted to avoid the tit and ball soup that was Erindale I would catch the bus to Phillip.  Nothing has changed (accept the price) and its like stepping back in time.  In fact, I think the man at the front was the same lifeguard we used to oggle in our teens in his speedos and lack of shirt.  Now, with myself, a 5 year old and a 1 year old… $15.  Now, I can get that prices rise.  I get that.  I get that pools are expensive to run….But to charge $4.50 for an infant who barely paddles and $6.00 for an adult who isn’t swimming is a bit steep.  The pool has not had an upgrade/facelift EVER, it still has the same pinnies in the canteen that were there 25 years ago.  Nearly every other pool in Canberra has had a facelift except Phillip.  It was also very quiet.  A few lap swimmers, a couple of parents with kiddies having a splash but very quiet considering it was getting warmer by the time we left at 12.

Now, for Dickson.  Firstly, the place is PACKED.  yes, it was later in a hot day, but it was very busy.   An another selling point… no charge for the 1 year old.  So including hubby who came this time as well, $14. Friends who invited us, family of 5, $20 family pass.   Win.

The crowds filled me with a kind of dread, thinking its going to be crazy to even get into the pool but there is so much going on, that not everyone is in the pool.  There’s the new (I gather) water play park which was cool for the kids, there was the baby pool, the middle sized pool and the big pool.  While it has the same number of pools as Phillip, they are all under shade sails in some shape or form.   Another bonus, much more places to sit in the shade, as I stupidly got burnt at Phillip in the morning and needed some respite from the sun.  Bands, sausage sizzles, zumba lessons, jugglers, and a red man in a full body lyrca suit running around kept the kids amused.  I even spotted Johnboy there, thankfully without speedos…  I remained anonymous and incognito.  🙂

Despite Dickson being a tad far away for us, I would definitely go again.  Phillip could learn a few things about getting the crowds in.

So discuss dear rioters, what is your favourite pool in Canberra and why?

[ED – Worth noting that Dickson Pool was running it’s Aquaculture Nights program every Saturday night through summer.]

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26 Responses to
A Tale of Two Pools…. Phillip v. Dickson
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taninaus 7:11 am 06 Jan 12

Another sad tale of Phillip – my sister took her kids there 4/1/12 – the slide they offer was not open consistently and the cafe was atrocious – the hot chips were cold as some heater had broken, the pies and sausage rolls were heated in a microwave and they had run out of tomato sauce (no idea why they couldn’t toddle off to woolies up the road)! The staff were grumpy and made all the excuses in the world about it being busy and New Years. If John and his staff don’t wake up to themselves they will lose so much custom – but then it is only because of the ice rink that the place didn’t close years ago as outdoor pools are not profitable in Canberra without something extra.

SupaSal 1:27 am 06 Jan 12

Kaleen has closed was brought out by the same owner as CISAC – Closed the pool due to the roof Rusting and moved all the swim school to CISAC where they now charge double for lessons!!

Puppy_Party 10:26 pm 05 Jan 12

Saw this article about 12 months too late…. I took my two children to the Phillip Pool yesterday and the ‘old guy’ (must be the same one that everyone is referring to) was quite rude to me on the way out. Even my children were offended!! However, I would like to thank him very much for being so rude because we have found the wonders of Club Blue in Belconnen. It’s newer, cleaner, cheaper, more for the kids do, and the staff go out of their way to be friendly and helpful. Definitely worth the drive…. I will never go to Phillip Pool again!!

auscan 2:57 pm 30 Sep 11

I think most people need to understand Big Splash and Phillip are privately owned. The others are on a lease basis which means the Government provides them with enough money to cover running costs each year. Big Splash and Phillip don’t get a cent. This is most evident where they can offer spectator fees and the 2 privately owned can’t.

I think with all that changes in Canberra we should be grateful the oldies are still hanging around. I see Big Splash is putting in news slides… I think that is much better than the rumour of apartments going in there instead.

As far as adults going on kids slides at Big Splash…. You land on my 4 year old when you are coming off that slide I am not going to be impressed. If your child cannot go on the slides by themselves don’t force them! Kids slides mean just that.

Keijidosha 11:16 am 31 Jan 11

taninaus said :

Key difference – Phillip is privately owned (used to be a bunch of Sydney doctors – may still be) and Dickson is Government owned with a contractor in place.

While the government might help Dickson out with infrastructure Phillip has to pay for it all themselves – and the Government probably put some cap/guidance on entry fees where Phillip is in the free market.

Big Splash at Belconnen is privately owned AFAIK and still manages some semblance of upkeep and infrastructure upgrades. As the saying goes: In business you gotta spend money to make money, and clearly Phillip pool has little interest in doing that.

niftydog 10:38 am 31 Jan 11

77Eliza said :

The title of this says it all- 2 pools. In a growing town of Canberra’s size having a handful of pools to choose from is far from adequate…

Within a 5km radius of Lyneham you have Dickson, CISAC, AIS, Big Splash and Civic pools, all of which have multiple pools. (There’s also Kaleen, but I keep hearing that it’s closed – anyone know the story?)

As for the wetlands – they are designed to limit mosquito habitat – a study of the Banksia St wetland found more mozzies in a neighbouring garden than in the in wetland.

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