Civic pool on track for summer

Charlotte 15 October 2015
Civic Pool

We went for a quick dip at Civic Pool (known as Canberra Olympic Pool these days) yesterday afternoon and learnt that work to repair the expensive leak from the outdoor diving pool is going well. A staff member told us the diving pool and neighbouring toddler pool are due to re-open in November. The future of the pool remains in doubt, though, with interim operators the YMCA only contracted till March.

Until works began to fix the problem, the diving pool had each year been leaking around 19 million litres of water at a cost to taxpayers of $100,000 per annum.

The ACT Government appointed the YMCA to operate the complex mid-year and that arrangement is due to continue until March next year, “while longer term options for the facility are resolved”.

There will be a lot of sad Canberrans battling pangs of nostalgia if the Government resolves to close the pool, but the promise of a shiny new facility in the area would go some way to appeasing them, I’m sure.

Despite the heat this week there is nothing much on offer yet in the territory in terms of outdoor pool swimming. Unless you have access to a backyard pool that’s ready for the action or are a member of a private club like NextGen, that is.

Our kids looked wistfully across the sunlit grass and past the quaint metal umbrellas to the empty Civic toddler pool yesterday, but the domed 50m pool was open so we paddled around in the shallow end of one of the lanes not in use by lap swimmers. With large curtains opened up along both longer sides of the dome, there was plenty of natural light, and the water was warm enough to step in without wincing.

For a little more sunlight while you swim, Dickson Pool will re-open at 8am on October 24. Our personal favourite, historic Manuka Pool, is back in the game a week later and Phillip around the same time once it’s refilled after receiving a new paint job over the break.

The hoses will be on at privately operated Big Splash at Macquarie from November too.

The Lakeside Leisure Centre at Tuggeranong is also operated by the YMCA for the ACT Government as is the Gungahlin Leisure Centre. Lakeside was closed for refurbishments till late last month but is back to normal now, according to its website. A water play park at the back of the centre is due to open early November.

ACT Labor promised in 2012 to build a pool in Weston Creek by 2018 if it was re-elected so there should be another option in a couple of years. I’ve put in an call to find out how that’s tracking along with asking for an update on the future of Civic Pool and any possible new pool in central Canberra and will update when I hear back.

We can dip our toes in the territory’s natural waterways at Pine Island, Kambah Pool, Casuarina Sands, Cotter Bend or Tharwa Sandwash any time. Read more about them in this earlier RiotACT story.

It’s been a while since I’ve heard of anyone swimming in the lake, but we used to when we were kids, at Yarralumla Bay, Weston Park and Black Mountain Peninsula. Do people swim in its murky waters these days? The Tams website lists a few lakeside parks as potential swimming spots here, so maybe they do.

Weekly water quality reporting of our lakes for the swimming season begins today, according to this website from the NCA, so you can check the latest before deciding to take a splash.

Which is your favourite place to swim in Canberra? Do you prefer to swim in a pool or get back to nature by the river? Did you dive in over the long weekend?

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