Hopping to it

April and Violet test out the new indoor pool gear with Vincent mayor Emma Cole. They’re looking forward to the indoor area being reopened after having to make do with the outdoor pool during a chilly winter. Photo by David Bell

AFTER seven months’ construction a date’s been set for Beatty Park Leisure Centre’s indoor area to reopen, with major works scheduled to be done by August 22. 

Vincent council has spent around $3 million on indoor renovations to replace pool tiling and the 1962 toilets, upgrade pipework and water filters, make everything wheelchair accessible, and install new kids play equipment.

Councillors were advised late last year that complete tile replacement was needed to prevent “catastrophic unplanned failure”, and the 30-year-old indoor pool filtration plant was clattering along for more than twice its expected lifespan and couldn’t filter water fast enough to meet current standards.

When upgrades started there were some concerns that the aged-but-beloved gigantic frog play sculpture in the kids’ pool would not return, but Vincent mayor Emma Cole was happy to quash them: The frog’s back with a new coat of green paint. 

Works were originally scheduled to be done by July, and swim schools have had to use the heated outdoor pool in the meantime. But there’s been a couple of delays and Covid’s meant the new waterslides still haven’t arrived from Malaysia, one of the few countries that manufactures them, so they’ll be installed post-opening. 

The reopening comes just as Stirling council is gearing up to refurbish the outdoor pools at Terry Tyzack Aquatic Centre, and parts of Bayswater Waves are currently closed for until December while repairs are underway.

Beatty Park Leisure Centre, built for the Commonwealth Games and later handed to Vincent council to take care of, has been an expensive asset. 

There’s still more to be done once locals are consulted on what they want out of the centre. 

The old outdoor grandstand remains closed in want of pricey upgrades needed to bring it up to modern safety codes, and Ms Cole says the council will keep up its advocacy campaign seeking state or federal funding. 

Last month Perth council turned down a deal with the state and federal government that’d see the council pay for a pool to be installed at the WACA. The council deemed it financially unviable because pools cost so much to run and usually propped up financially by gyms and saunas, but those extras would’ve been run by the WACA. 

Ms Cole wouldn’t weigh in on whether Perth councillors had made the smart financial choice, just noting gravely “pools are expensive to run”. 

By DAVID BELL

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