Suggestions include a larger 50m pool and a hydrotherapy pool
Local authorities have received a number of submissions in relation to the proposed new National Outdoor Pursuits Academy in Castlebar town.
Last May An Taoiseach Enda Kenny announced news of the €12.5 million centre, which will be a collaborative effort between GMIT, Mayo County Council and Castlebar Town Council. The plans included a new swimming pool complex and National Training Centre for outdoor pursuits at Lough Lannagh, while Phase 2 of the complex will see a six-lane tartan running track and four playing pitches located across from GMIT.
The plans included a new 25 metre swimming pool, but a number of submissions have been canvassing for a 50 metre pool, stating how elite swimmers in Mayo must regularly travel to Limerick in order to train in an Olympic-sized 50-metre pool.
Local woman Veronica Neeley has also campaigned for a hydrotherapy pool to be part of the new complex. Ms Neeley maintains older people and people with disabilities would benefit greatly from a hydrotherapy pool’s warmer water, which would improve flexibility and movement in their limbs.
Ms Neeley, whose friend has a daughter with a disability, told The Mayo News that the only public hydrotherapy pool in the county is in Áras Attracta in Swinford. She maintains that a public hydrotherapy pool in the centre of the county would be an ‘invaluable’ amenity for people with disabilities, for older people and for people recovering from operations.
“The water temperature in a normal pool can be too cold [for these groups],” Ms Neeley explained. “The Swinford pool is great, but access is limited, and it can be difficult for some people to get to.”
Ms Neeley has made a submission to the local authorities, asking that a hydrotherapy pool form part of the new swimming pool complex at Lough Lannagh. She has received support from local politicians, organisations and medical professionals.
“Nothing has been decided at Castlebar Town Council yet, but the idea is extremely good,” said Cllr Noreen Heston. “I will mention it in the October meeting. It is lovely to see people coming forward with ideas for the betterment of their own area,” added Cllr Heston.
Castlebar Town Manager Séamus Granahan said that all submissions, including Ms Neeley’s submission will be considered ‘pretty thoroughly’. “We will certainly consider her submission, we will consider all submissions made to us … we hope to know more about what the final proposal maybe next month. We have received lots of submissions in relation to making the pool a 50m pool, and we will consider all submissions pretty thoroughly,” he told The Mayo News.
Ms Neeley has also suggested that the old swimming pool in Castlebar be used as a day centre for Western Care for school leavers with disabilities, but Séamus Granahan said that it was ‘too early’ to speculate on any use for the old pool.
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