After a scorching start to spring, Albion Park residents are pleading for Shellharbour City Council to reconsider keeping Albion Park pool closed until late October.
Many Illawarra residents cooled off at beaches and pools over the October long weekend, as the temperature soared to more than 30 degrees for the fifth day in a fortnight.
However residents in the hottest suburb, Albion Park, had to travel further for a dip or take shelter in air conditioned homes and shops with the pool in their suburb not scheduled to open until late October.
Albion Park resident Laura Speelman was one those staying close to the climate control, but would get in the pool with her son Austin if given the chance.
"I used to live in Flinders, so I'm used to being closer to the beach and having that option, but having kids it's a bit safer to be in a pool to not worry about waves and rips," she said.
As a previous user of the facility, Ms Speelman said she would head back once it opened.
"It definitely has some appeal."
Similarly, Shellharbour resident Laura Rojas said the children's pools at Albion Park were a major drawcard, and something different from what was on offer at Oak Flats.
"My mother-in-law and father-in-law used to take my kids there a lot when I was at work," she said. "There's a splash area there for the kids, and they love that."
Ward A councillor and deputy mayor Kellie Marsh said the council's decision to open the Albion Park and Warilla pools from late October was down to cost and availability of staff.
"We set our budgets on a yearly basis, and it's very difficult to do something on the spot," she said.
"A lot of our staff for our pools and lifeguards are casuals, so a whole recruitment campaign happens each year for casuals who often have other jobs off-season as well."
Oak Flats pool and Beverly Whitfield ocean pool are currently open, and council lifeguards have been patrolling Warilla Central Beach and Shellharbour North Beach since Saturday, September 23.
Many Albion Park residents took to Facebook to ask for council to add Albion Park pool to this list, with Lesley Souter commenting that as "life guards are patrolling beaches so the pools should be open, very sad for the people wishing to swim in there local area" (sic).
Once the pool does open, residents will pay an extra for entry, with the adult fee rising 25 per cent to $5 and concessions paying $3, an extra 50 per cent.
Ms Marsh said the cost of operating the pools were "absolutely huge" and the ticket cost was already subsidised by ratepayers.
"We do run at a loss for our pool, it is a community service that we provide. It's it's not just a matter of opening the pools, we obviously have to look at taking money from elsewhere to put more resources into that area, if that's what the community and council want."
However, Ms Marsh, who lives in Tullimbar, sympathised with her neighbours, saying that with long and hot summers ahead, extending the swim season at Albion Park was something she would look into.
"What I would like to see from the state and federal government, considering councils are frontline [service providers] is to provide us with some funding, because, you can do anything if you have a bucket of money to do so."
With climate change likely playing a role in the recent heatwaves that have hit the Illawarra, and predictions of hotter summers ahead, residents were already feeling the brunt of the level of CO2 in the earth's atmosphere, and were turning to councils as the local service providers to respond.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.