AS the weather warms and COVID-19 restrictions hopefully ease, the continued closure of community pools in the MidCoast Council area is potentially source of angst this summer.
The matter was raised at this week's council meeting. Pools at Nabiac, Krambach, Stroud, Bulahdelah and Tea Gardens remained closed, although Tea Gardens will re-open in early December when run by the YMCA.
It'll be business as usual at the YMCA run pools at Wingham, Taree and Forster.
As ever, there's considerable misinformation about this decision and as ever, it's driven by social media.
MidCoast Council isn't keeping the gates shut. Council is just following COVID-19 health orders issued by the NSW government. The same order applies throughout the State. It's fair to say MidCoast Council isn't anti-pool. There would be councillors and council employees who live in the areas where the pools remain shut and who would want to go swimming.
Many thousands of dollars have been raised over the years to construct the pools. That began at Wingham more than half a century ago. The Manning Aquatic and Leisure Centre came about as a result of a massive fund raising effort by the people of the Manning that started in the late 1990s.
It was a proud day for Nabiac in 2015 when their pool opened following a 25 year fund raising effort.
But no-one needs reminding that this is a different world. The pandemic has changed everything and the problem with community pools is that there's no structured management so that means there's no way of implementing the complex COVID-19 regulations that need to be in place to operate.
A suggestion that the pools could be handed over to community groups is fraught with problems. Who would make up the group? How would they find the time to spend all day at the pool and enforce the rules?
Last summer was wet and the weather generally mild, so the loss of the pools possibly wasn't as acute as it could have been. However, that might not be the case this year.
It's a problem, but not one that council has caused or can rectify.
Perhaps it is one for our State member to investigate.
Senior journalist, Manning River Times