THE new 25-metre pool at Lough Lannagh in Castlebar is set to open in the middle of this year. News of the approximate opening date was confirmed at last week’s monthly meeting of Castlebar Municipal District, following a delegation to the meeting from Castlebar Swimming Club.
Darina Molloy, spokesperson for the club, asked a number of questions in relation to the new facility, including when it would be open, costs of hiring the pool and what management system would be put in place.
Ms Molloy outlined to the meeting that the club currently pays €50,000 in pool hire fees with over 200 children attending swimming classes and 70 people in the club’s squad.
She highlighted that if fees were to increase at the new pool, children from disadvantaged backgrounds who currently access classes would lose out.
Senior Executive Officer, John McHale, said the Council were presently looking at management systems for the facility and ‘talks are ongoing’.
Cllr Michael Kilcoyne proposed that issues in relation to hiring management would be brought back to Council representatives before anything is finalised.
Mr McHale told the meeting that it was already agreed that staff from the current pool would be transferred over to the new facility.
A discussion among councillors ensued regarding the topic of a 25-metre pool being agreed on instead of a 50-metre pool, with some councillors lamenting it as a missed opportunity for the town.
“We lost out on a 50-metre and people from Swim Ireland are now saying all competitions have to be in a 50-metre pool,” said Cllr Blackie Gavin.
Cllr Al McDonnell described the 25-metre pool as an ‘exciting facility’ and questioned if a 50 metre pool was passed through the council, would it have been built.
“It would cost €400,000 per annum for running a 50-metre,” said Cllr McDonnell.
“It wasn’t feasible to have a 50 metre, it’s over,” said Cllr Henry Kenny.