25 June 2021

Planning work begins on southside hydrotherapy pool

| Dominic Giannini
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Hydrotherapy pool

Work has begun for the proposed southside hydrotherapy pool. Photo: File.

Canberra’s proposed southside hydrotherapy pool is one step closer after an expert consultant was employed to oversee the initial design, planning and costing work.

The preferred site is the Lakeside Leisure Centre facility in Tuggeranong town centre, but the Active Leisure Centre at the Erindale Group Centre is being considered as a second option.

The ACT Government committed $250,000 to begin the work as part of its COVID-19 stimulus package last year.

Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said consultation will be undertaken with stakeholders and community members soon.

The consultation follows months of criticism from southside locals at the start of last year as the government scrambled to find an alternative hydrotherapy pool on Canberra’s southside after it decided to close the facility at the Canberra Hospital.

The government then announced an alternative location in Kambah after complaints from locals who could not make the trip to the University of Canberra Hospital pool for hydrotherapy treatment.

Rachel Stephen-Smith

ACT Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said there were benefits to co-locating the new hydrotherapy pool at an already established facility. Photo: Dominic Giannini.

Services were moved from TCH to Aqua Harmony in Canberra while the government considered the feasibility of building a southside hydrotherapy pool in the medium to long term.

A three-year funding agreement with Arthritis ACT was also announced by the government to provide an additional 688 hydrotherapy sessions a year at Aqua Harmony with two qualified staff members in attendance.

Labor committed to building a southside pool during the 2020 ACT election campaign.

“We will engage with the community and stakeholders throughout this process to ensure we are delivering a modern facility that meets the needs of the community now and in the years to come,” Ms Stephen-Smith said.

Ms Stephen-Smith said there were benefits to co-locating the new hydrotherapy pool at an already-established facility.

“Extending the chosen site will mean we can benefit from shared front-of-house facilities, change rooms, car parking and plant equipment.

“We look forward to working with all parties to provide hydrotherapy services to people in Canberra’s southside.”

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Gail D Gillin2:16 am 28 Jun 21

Let’s hope we get a decent hydrotherapy like the old TCH pool. Is varying depths allowed for:
neck & shoulders to be in the water;
submerged platform work for
those with lower limb issues to work on those areas. Not aware of any other hydrotherapy pool having this facility. that enabled many of us to build up strength to manage stairs out of the water. Bars at the edges of the pool which we could hold onto easily to facilitate exercises. Some of the current hydrotherapy pools lack room for one to do body length exercises and fully stretched arms with noodle exercises once there are more than five people using the pool as the pools are so small or narrow. We need ALL these facilities. Oh, and water in the proper heat range, unlike some of the hydrotherapy pools that save money by keeping the water lower. Then we need disability friendly change rooms with disability friendly showers and toilets, plentiful (not minimum requirements) disabled parking close by that is accessed from level pathways. Needs to be readily accessible by public transport. We have an ageing population so the use of such a facility is likely to increase. I really hope this new hydrotherapy pool is not done on the cheap. I know l am not the only person who has gone backwards in their exercise program and physical health since the closure of the wonderful TCH pool. The existing facilities just don’t allow for benefits l got from the range exercises l could undertake at TCH .

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