Phillip Pool to stay closed for 2021/22 summer as questions remain regarding its future

Max O'Driscoll 26 October 2021 93
The Philip Swimming Pool

The Phillip Swimming Pool will remain closed this summer. Photo: Phillip Swimming and Ice Skating Centre.

Phillip will go without its swimming pool this summer after its management confirmed opening would neither be viable nor possible for the upcoming season.

Manager and currently the sole working employee of the Phillip Swimming Centre John Raut, who has worked at Phillip for 41 years, said there is simply too much work to do for one person after a frustrating period of lockdown prevented him from completing necessary works at the pool.

“Normally, we do our maintenance from the end of August right through to the beginning of November when we open the pool,” said Mr Raut.

“We don’t have any staff whatsoever, it’s just myself, so we normally do the repaint and everything in-house, but on this occasion, with no staff and no access to materials or tradespeople, it wasn’t going to be possible by the start of summer.”

READ MORE: Further $300,000 for Gungahlin Pool repairs with no end date in sight

Mr Raut said several other local pools are having similar troubles with re-opening, but costly issues with the ice rink exacerbate the problems at Phillip. They have received an exemption from the ACT Government to remain closed until March.

While acknowledging the facility’s long-term future is murky, Mr Raut says the closure for summer has nothing to do with the owner trying to get “rid of the pool”, as some comments online have suggested. It is also not related to concerns about future COVID-19 restrictions.

He said it’s simply that it would be far too complex for one person to get the pool ready in time.

Beyond the Phillip Swimming and Ice Skating Centre’s immediate future, Mr Raut says that the proposed new ice sports facility in Tuggeranong would likely result in the Phillip Centre going out of business as he believes there is not enough demand in Canberra for two ice sports facilities.

READ MORE: Were dreams of a new ice sports facility in Canberra just a melting moment?

With the ACT Government yet to indicate whether they will support the Centre moving forward, in the aftermath of a costly two-year period for the business, and with the long-serving manager nearing retirement, the Phillip Swimming and Ice Skating Centre has significant obstacles to overcome to secure its future.

Marty from Phillip, who was a regular user of the facility, believes that the lack of areas for sport and recreation in the Woden Valley is glaringly obvious in comparison to other regions of Canberra. He says that while there’s a level of understanding from the community perspective regarding the difficulty of running the business through COVID, the decision to remain closed will have a “huge impact on the community”.

“It’s a real loss for the Woden Valley,” he said. “The Phillip Pool kind of acts as this place where people can go and do exercise, go for a swim outside and families can hang out in the summer, in the place of parks and things like that.”

As to the future sustainability of the Phillip Pool, Marty believes it’s something the ACT Government must look into and provide the necessary support where it’s required as it’s a valued asset for the people of the Woden Valley.

In August, the ACT Government confirmed that repairs to the 50-metre pool at the Gungahlin Leisure Centre will not be completed by the end of the year.

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93 Responses to Phillip Pool to stay closed for 2021/22 summer as questions remain regarding its future
Kellie Yarrow Kellie Yarrow 8:59 am 31 Oct 21

Jenny 😳 bloody pools

Brian Ashcroft Brian Ashcroft 12:10 pm 30 Oct 21

the pool leaks like a sieve-and water costs a lot in Canberra-more to the story than they say

Brad Pedley Brad Pedley 8:36 pm 28 Oct 21

Noooo. Peter Dunlop Erin Nugent Martin Faux. Was this you Marty?

    Erin Nugent Erin Nugent 8:00 am 30 Oct 21

    Brad Pedley this is sad.

    I love an outdoor pool. And the ice-rink 😞

Netty Atkins Netty Atkins 3:17 pm 28 Oct 21

OMG he’s still there after all these years 😳 I still remember his budgie smugglers 😄

Dallas McIntyre Dallas McIntyre 7:46 pm 27 Oct 21

Very sad news.

Michael Creagh Michael Creagh 7:40 pm 27 Oct 21

ACT labor gov dont care about southside. Get used to it

    Jack Spahr Jack Spahr 5:14 pm 22 Nov 21

    Oh, I thought they only cared about the southside

Tanya Grady Tanya Grady 7:15 pm 27 Oct 21

Oh I loved a dip in Phillip pool every summer. Lovely sunny and quiet. Sad… 🥲

Claudia Pearson Claudia Pearson 6:29 pm 27 Oct 21

Michael Harris maybe only one type soon

Will Freebairn Will Freebairn 5:23 pm 27 Oct 21

Gungahlin knows how they feel unfortunately.

aussie2 aussie2 4:18 pm 27 Oct 21

Here is another for the “shopping list”. It is government responsibility to ensure its citizens have access to pools and other infrastructure. It has done a terrible job under Barr and summer is approaching. There needs to be learn to swim, general swimming and hydrotherapy pools in each catchment. Another MUST HAVE against the glory Tram project. C’mon Chief Minister-do the right thing. Ah, that’s right you want to keep Ratters in a job!

2902 2902 1:41 pm 27 Oct 21

Imagine the money one could make building apartments on this site, right out the front of the proposed light rail track

ChrisinTurner ChrisinTurner 1:09 pm 27 Oct 21

There is not enough attention to maintaining services in areas with dense populations. The government seems to be working on increasing the urban sprawl through making the extremities more attractive.

Darcy Max Darcy Max 9:43 am 27 Oct 21


nobody nobody 9:41 am 27 Oct 21

I’m not sure the RiotACT has got the full story here, and wonder why they didn’t ask any difficult questions.
What unpainted surface prevents the pool opening this summer?
Which unrepaired piece of equipment is preventing opening?
Which other pools are in a similar situation to Phillip Pool?
If there are any (other than Gungahlin), what is preventing them from opening?
Why has the government allowed this facility so much slack?

Karen Wilder Karen Wilder 9:23 am 27 Oct 21

A south Canberra icon and such a wonderful facility! I have enjoyed this place with my family as a child and as a parent both pool and ice skating. Definitely worth investing in ACT Government, would be a shame to see it go 😞

    Peter Bucke Peter Bucke 1:58 pm 27 Oct 21

    Karen Wilder it will go ! We need more apartments and less public facilities like pools, basketball courts, bowling greens , squash courts and mini golf ! It’s being slowly but surely planned to replace all with apartment blocks !

Dymphna Lorimer Dymphna Lorimer 8:24 am 27 Oct 21

I know. Terrible news. I heard this a week or so ago. If Raut can’t run it, it should be handed over to another enterprise who can get it back open!

Steve Aust Steve Aust 5:31 am 27 Oct 21

Geocon is watching closely…

    Peter Bucke Peter Bucke 1:56 pm 27 Oct 21

    Steve Aust exactly ! The writing is on the wall !!!

Ray Mcgee Ray Mcgee 11:29 pm 26 Oct 21

Just waiting for a certain someone to ramble on and make this about West Belco needing pools 🤣

Vanessa Essam Vanessa Essam 9:37 pm 26 Oct 21

ACT Government needs to step in & ensure this facility is not lost to the community. We have lost pool space over recent years Southside & have limited recreational space available for all. This is a fabulous facility, loved by the community & we need to ensure it continues to be available going forward.

    Paula Garner Paula Garner 9:40 pm 26 Oct 21

    Vanessa Essam agreed. And need to keep our outdoor 50m pools

    Vanessa Essam Vanessa Essam 9:52 pm 26 Oct 21

    Paula I know J trains here every summer & I swim there too over summer - can’t believe we might lose this place 😞

Michelle Bettanin Michelle Bettanin 8:59 pm 26 Oct 21

We’ve needed a new pool for ages. What’s the point when it’s only open a couple months during the year.

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