The Sapphire Aquatic Centre 25 metre lap pool is expected to be closed until Monday, January 14 while repairs are being carried out after water bubbles developed under the liner. Costs of the repairs are being met by the Sapphire Aquatic Centre architects, Facility Design Group.
On Saturday, three members of the Bega SES, armed with four water pumps, emptied the pool of its 464,000 litres of water in an operation that took six hours.
Bega unit controller, Tom Jory, said that it was a good opportunity to test out the pumps. “It is difficult to set up a mock flood situation normally, so this was a great opportunity to see if there are any issues that needed rectifying. Basically it was as good as a service for the pumps, they’re not designed to sit around in sheds.”
The crew utilised high volume water transfer pumps from the Eden, Bega and Bermagui NSW SES units, as well as the Sapphire Aquatic Centre’s own submersible pump. The operation started at 10am and the plan was for these four pumps to work continuously and empty out the pool.
The equipment required continuous monitoring throughout the task. “We now have a better idea of the time frame and the pump-power required for different jobs,” Kyle Thomas, one of the SES volunteers said.
Colin Dunn, treasurer of Pambula Aquatic Centre Incorporated (PACI) the community association established to construct the aquatic centre, said: “We managed to secure a pool liner expert, Dennis Linnell, at short notice and he worked at the centre on Monday and Tuesday this week to remove the water bubbles under the liner. We then started to refill the pool after which the water will be treated to aquatic centre standards. Costs of these repairs are being met by the aquatic centre architects Facility Design Group.”
Mr Dunn explained that apart from the repair time, it took time to refill the pool and treat the water.
“We apologise for any disruption to the swimming habits of our customers but we have to make these repairs when we can, to maintain the quality of the facility,” he said.
Mr Dunn said that if all went well they would re-open the pool earlier.
“Once this work on the liner is complete it is expected that the centre will be formally handed over to the council by PACI. Then it will be the full responsibility of Sapphire Aquatic Limited (SAL), and the council, to maintain the centre.”
SAL is the community company that was established to manage the aquatic centre and the management agreement with council is now in its third year.
Mr Dunn said that the centre had a good year with over 34,000 visits in 2012. Current membership stands at 703 and 18 people have been employed during the year.
The centre will be expanded during 2013 to include new squash courts on site near the H2O gym. The building of the courts was enabled by the financial support of the state government and the council along with fundraising by the Rotary Club of Pambula and the local squash club.
Mr Dunn said that they were keen to welcome new members to the Sapphire Aquatic Limited board. Anyone with some skills or experience to offer should contact the secretary, Jill Hambling, on 6495 7574.