Anxious residents in the opal mining town of Coober Pedy today welcomed the news that the local pool may reopen to the general public, possibly later next week with assistance from the state government and the Education Department.
The town pool that is located in the school grounds failed to open in October after it was discovered that there was no contract for staff or maintenance and no contract with the Department of Education for the public to use the pool.
The pool is currently used by students of Coober Pedy Area School during school hours. Outside of school hours and during school holidays, the operation of the pool rests with the District Council of Coober Pedy under an agreement that is currently in holdover.
Education Minister Susan Close has today committed funds to ensure the Coober Pedy pool will be open to the community during the school holidays.
The State Government will cover the staffing and maintenance costs of the pool over the summer while a long-term arrangement is being formalised with the District Council of Coober Pedy.
Member for Giles, Mr. Eddie Hughes told the Coober Pedy Regional Times today, “The Executive Director of Infrastructure in the Education Department will be flying up to Coober Pedy on Wednesday to meet with the council and the school to finalise the details of the temporary arrangement and to ensure that the pool is opened to the community as soon as possible.
“I have said to the minister’s office that I want to see it reopened as soon as possible”, he said.
Mr. Hughes has been working with the Council and the Education Department to help ensure that the whole community could continue to use the pool facilities during the hottest part of the year.
“I have spoken to the council about working together with the Education Department to get things moving quickly now that we are committed to providing the funds. As soon as we have a decision on the opening day we will let the community know,” said Mr. Hughes.
An updated Joint Use Agreement is being formalised between the Department for Education and Child Development and the District Council.
Local business owner Mr. George Russell who owns and operates the Oasis Tourist Park in Coober Pedy said that he was prepared to accommodate a group of elderly residents who generally use the community pool for gentle exercises that assist with mobility.
“Unfortunately it won’t hold the whole town, but through an arrangement with my insurance company I was able to get permission to use the “Oasis” swimming pool for the elderly group if necessary, said Mr. Russell.
“I’d like to thank our local member Mr. Eddie Hughes for escalating this matter and letting us know that the pool will open for the community as soon as possible. It’s a long, hot summer in Coober Pedy and I can see that Mr. Hughes appreciates that,” said Mr. Russell.
Education Minister Susan Close said, “We will work with the Council to ensure the pool’s long-term availability to the community.”
“I am pleased that Coober Pedy residents young and old will continue to have access to the pool and an opportunity to keep cool in the summer heat”, said Minister Close.
MP Eddie Hughes said, “I am pleased that our Government was able to quickly take action to ensure that residents were not left without a pool this summer, and I will continue to assist however I can in helping to deliver a long-term agreement on sharing the costs for the benefit of the community”, said, Mr. Hughes.