WITH only two weeks before East London’s largest aquatic centre is supposed to reopen and be buzzing with activity, Joan Harrison Swimming Pool Complex’s pools are still bone dry.
This has avid swimmers, coaches and regular visitors to the aquatic complex up in arms as the gala season, which is due to start this month, fast approaches with no indication from Bualo
City Metro (BCM) when the pools will be lled. BCM spokeswoman Bathandwa Diamond promised that with the exception of “the main pool and diving pool at Joan Harrison, and the kiddies pool at Orient” which will be opened on October 1, all other pools would open next Friday.
In May BCM reduced open times and extended the already three-month closure for maintenance to four months, which should see the aquatic complex open its doors on September 30.
When the Daily Dispatch visited the public amenity yesterday, all pools were empty and a few workers dressed in overalls were seen on site.
Border biathlon provincial head Michael Forbes said they no longer made use of Joan Harrison complex.
They have opted for Cambridge school’s track and another school in the city for its heated swimming pool.
“If we could rely on the services at Joan Harrison we would make use of the facilities but we have been disappointed in the past. We would like to but we cannot be sure whether the pools will be heated or not.”
Swimming coach and longtime critic of mismanagement at “the Joan” Joe Hillstrom said the public was being held to ransom.
“We are battling here in East London with our facilities. I would love to see the world championship here because it would attract over 16 000 people.
“But here we are ghting for a heater to be switched on and there is no reason why the complex should be closed during winter when we have heating facilities.
“It is very sad that we are faced with management who do not want to see this place open to the public,” he said.
Diamond said the upgrades conducted at the pools included the servicing of pumps and motor, xing pool tiles, and replacing water supply pipes.
The Parkside swimming pool is being chlorinated.
The heated pools would be upgraded in later stage as the heating system was a capital project and not part of the recent maintenance work.