Monday, April 20, 2009

Vowles backs Eddy's call for pool closures to be reassessed

Its welcome news that Jubilee Swimming Pool will remain open (along with Bishopsworth Pool) for a bit longer than originally anticipated (‘Delight at pools remaining open’, Post, April 15). I’m altogether opposed to Jubilee’s planned closure and regret that this reprieve, due to delays to work on the new Hengrove Park pool, is being looked on as merely temporary. I agree with Councillor Richard Eddy’s when he said ‘With this extra time I think their fate should be reassessed.’

Closing Jubilee and other pools may put people off going for swim, a very healthy physical activity, just when we are supposed to be trying harder to encourage it. It may be those who find it most awkward to travel further that are most put off, such as the elderly or families with young children.

Replacing a short, no cost, sustainable walk to the local pool with an unsustainable and more expensive car trip is not good in these times of all times. Swimmers in Knowle would have to travel further to swim after the closure, adding to air pollution and climate change.

I believe all local councillors should work harder to stand up for locally available facilities and feel very let down that Jubilee has apparently been given up on by some. I want the council to work hard to get a more rounded, balanced, less purely financial, greener and more democratic decision made on Jubilee Pool and other local pools. Other local community services and facilities should be similarly looked upon.

I would like to see them reverse the closure decision and go back to the idea of reviewing the situation once the new leisure centre at Hengrove Park opens. I don’t agree with a decision taken on purely financial grounds. Any review should not only be a financial audit but should also be a social and environmental audit, examining the total impact of closure and of alternatives to it. This should be combined with completely open discussions on what it would take to keep Jubilee Pool open with all its users and other interested parties locally. I feel people who really believed in fighting for local facilities would be strongly arguing for this within Bristol's Cabinet.