Residents disappointed after call for longer hours at Camden pool defeated

Open pool longer: Camden Amateur Swimming Club president Sue Donohoe (right) and patron and life member Barbara Kingsell with club members are calling for the Camden War Memorial Pool to be better promoted and utilised with longer opening hours. Picture: Jeff de Pasquale
Open pool longer: Camden Amateur Swimming Club president Sue Donohoe (right) and patron and life member Barbara Kingsell with club members are calling for the Camden War Memorial Pool to be better promoted and utilised with longer opening hours. Picture: Jeff de Pasquale

The president of the Camden Amateur Swimming Club is calling for changes to the operation of Camden War Memorial Pool after a bid to extend the opening hours was shot down in Camden Council.

Sue Donohoe said the club had been trying to get the hours extended ‘‘for 20 years’’ and more work was needed to better promote the pool, which is managed by the YMCA.

‘‘Let’s look at what’s being provided at Mount Annan pool and let’s get some parity there,’’ she said.

Camden councillor Penny Fischer a notice of motion in a council meeting last month to extend the hours to 6am to 7pm Monday to Friday and 7am to 6pm on weekends and public holidays.

However the motion was defeated with councillors Lara Symkowiak, Peter Sidgreaves, Debby Dewbery, Theresa Fedeli and Greg Copeland voting against the motion.

Camden mayor Cr Symkowiak said the notice of motion, which sought to put the changes on public exhibition, did not have enough public consultation and said a community survey should be done to determine public opinion.

Mrs Donohoe said she was ‘‘astounded’’ and ‘‘appalled’’ by the lack of knowledge the councillors and staff had of the running of the Camden pool.

She said ideally the club would like to see the pool season begin in September and see activities and classes at the pool, like aqua aerobics, better promoted.

Camden resident Lisa Pudsey said she had signed the petition to make the pool more user friendly for families.

She said closing at 5pm on the weekend when parents had more time to take their kids to the pool made no sense.

Razorback’s Beck Bannister said she often took her children to the Wollondilly Community Leisure Centre pool in Picton instead of the Camden pool because it was open until 8pm.

Camden War Memorial Pool centre manager Simon Keane did not respond to the Advertiser's questions about whether the pool needed longer opening hours and better promotion.

''We will continue to work with council to best meet the needs of the community,'' he said.

A spokeswoman for Camden Council said in a statement the pool's opening hours would be discussed when the YMCA's contract came up for review later this year.

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