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Tourism chief wades in on Conwy’s paddling pool criticism

Paddling pool at Craig y Don in Llandudno

A TOURISM chief says Conwy’s announcement that it will not be filling its paddling pools this May has come at a ‘terrible time’.

Yesterday Conwy County Council announced that it won’t be filling its paddling pools because of a high-slip risk.

Now North Wales Tourism chief executive Jim Jones has hit out at the authority, implying the council has not had its finger on the pulse.

The original announcement came after the authority carried out a safety audit.

The audit concluded that all the county’s paddling pools needed anti-slip coating to the surfaces at Craig y Don, Rhos-on-Sea, Llanfairfechan, and Penmaenmawr.

The authority claims the only UK-based company able to carry out the work is unavailable due to ill health.

Mr Jim Jones waded in on the debate, also appearing to take issue with the lack of sand  at Llandudno’s beach.

“The announcement has come at a terrible time, especially since this is the time in the season when the paddling pools are filled,” he said.

“I don’t know how long it was left before it was decided it needed to be done. But it is an important part of what we’ve got for young people in Llandudno. We know we need a lot more.

“We haven’t got a beach there anymore, and there is that issue with the quarry that has been dumped on Llandudno beach, and now one of our biggest attractions on the beach is not open.

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“They (the council) need to start prioritising a lot earlier than they are doing to get these places up and running because they are key, especially for young families, and we need more of that.”

He added: “We know how important these attractions are to visitors and locals as well because whenever we have nice weather the places are absolutely jam-packed, and it just shows you there is a need.”

Mr Jones also said he ‘felt sorry’ for the new manager of the café at Craig y Don after recent investment to get the unit ready for the summer season.

“I do feel really sorry for the new owners of the café, the Coast Café,” he said.

“They have taken over the new café at the paddling pool in Craig y Don. They’ve invested a lot of money to get that building up and running in time for the ready-made market that comes there, and I hope they are compensated for that.

“Let’s just hope it will be rectified sooner rather than later. Otherwise, it’s going to be a huge blow to the young families we have been trying to attract to this area for a long, long time because they don’t have access to Llandudno and Rhos-on-Sea paddling pools which are such great attractions for visitors. I can’t believe there is just one supplier in the UK that can do that type of work. I hope they are looking for other contractors.”

Cllr Charlie McCoubrey, leader of Conwy County Council, said: “We know our paddling pools are hugely popular, and we’re doing all we can to resolve the situation.

“We had contractual arrangements in place to undertake the work, but unfortunately we have been let down at the last minute due to specific issues within the firm employed.

“We are urgently trying to find an alternative solution, including sourcing other products that meet the HSE recommended requirements and ensure the safety of everyone using our paddling pools.  In the meantime, preparatory work will be starting on site to enable the works to progress as soon as practically possible.”