Group push to extend Unanderra pool hours

A group of residents has called on Wollongong City Council to extend the swimming season at Western Suburbs Pool, Unanderra.

The group is following the lead of swimmers at Thirroul and Port Kembla, who successfully used a petition to push the council to open the pools in those suburbs until the end of May.

When the council decided in April last year to extend the swim season at Port Kembla and Thirroul saltwater pools by a month, it was estimated that the extra cost to the community would be $22,000 for each facility, or $666 per pool per day.

The Western Suburbs Pool currently operates from the first Saturday in October through to April 24.

However, the group's petition says the season should be extended to May 31, as it would "encourage health and fitness for many".

View the group's petition to keep Unanderra pool open

The Mercury revealed last month the council had put out a tender for the development of a 20-year strategy aimed at identifying future requirements and opportunities to ensure continued use of the city's nine public pools.

Documents accompanying the tender showed the Western Suburbs Pool was the most cost-effective to operate.

The council paid $2.71 per visitor to run the pool and the petition claims that extending the swimming season will see more people going for a swim.

"The central position of this facility to surrounding areas means it has the capacity to cater for the diversity of the local community in terms of age and swimming abilities," the petition says.

It also suggests the costs to heat the pool would be minimal as it is solar-heated.

"The solar heating system has virtually no operating costs, just the cost of the electricity required to pump the pool water through the solar panels on the roof," it says.

"Solar energy is also good for the environment - it's free!"

One of the organisers, Kim Hetherington, said the response to the petition had been "fantastic".

"We will definitely be able to acquire a sizeable number of signatures over the next few weeks, especially with the upcoming school swimming carnivals in February," Ms Hetherington said.

A council spokesman recommended anyone seeking extensions of the current pool times to contact the councillors in their ward.

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