RESIDENTS are calling for answers about when Merthyr Tydfil leisure centre’s main swimming pool will re-open after being closed for four years.
Rebecca Sinnett, from Dowlais, who runs a women’s support group and volunteers with children with learning disabilities has raised her frustration that the town has been without the pool for so long.
The swimming pool at Merthyr Tydfil Leisure Centre has been closed since December 2019 due to water leaks affecting the concrete and causing tiles to lift off.
Early in 2020, as building owner, the council commissioned a number of surveys to try to find the root cause of the issue and once they knew what work needed to take place, Wellbeing@Merthyr (Merthyr Tydfil Leisure Trust) – which leases the centre from the council – told the authority of its plans to potentially redevelop the entire leisure centre, including the pools.
The Covid lockdown hampered the work due to a tools and equipment shortage and further structural issues which had not previously been known about were discovered, so much more investigatory work was required than originally thought.
A redevelopment of the pool was due to be completed in autumn 2023 which includes a 25m, six-lane main pool, a dedicated teaching pool, plus a leisure pool with interactive water play. The changing facilities were also set to be updated and redesigned.
It’s part of a £6m investment from the council and works began in November 2022.
Rebecca said the group of children she volunteers with have had to go to the Aberfan pool but when they went there were no disabled facilities and the showers weren’t working.
Rebecca said: “It’s absolutely appalling. It’s excuse after excuse.”
She added : “Kids round here are suffering because it’s been closed for four years.”
Rebecca said a lot of parents don’t take their children swimming so school is the only chance they have.
She added that swimming should be part of the curriculum and people’s council tax goes towards the pool.
“It is a community centre. It is for the community,” she said.
Rebecca added that she has to travel to Ebbw Vale or Aberdare as a result of the pool being closed, with other parents unable to do so.
“They have just used every excuse in the book,” she said.
She added that the old skate park in the town has been removed as they install a new one and and said they should leave it until the new one has been built.
“They’re wondering why kids are badly behaved. Kids are bored. They have got nothing to do around here.”
Rebecca said she’s lucky to be able to travel but asked: “Why should I travel when I have got one on my doorstep?”
She recognised that the leisure centre was used as a vaccination centre during the coronavirus pandemic but said they’ve still had time to do the job.
Merthyr Tydfil Council has been contacted for comment.