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Lucan Pool Progress April-June 2024

This update 6th June replaces previous updates 14th May, 27th, 8th and 3rd April. There was also a lot of previous detail in the Feb/March update which is worth checking out here. As of now, there's been a slight slippage on estimated construction completion, currently earmarked for end June/early July. The Aura Leisure pre-opening period should be for 2 months after this, meaning September is still most likely. The company is now advertising for staff and has an open day on the 17th of June.

Aura Leisure looking for staff


Full Council meeting report 13th May

We had one more opportunity to raise the pool pricing issue this Council term, as part of the Chief Executive's Report at the full Council Meeting. Other than that, the May and June Area Committee meetings will not take place due to the local elections on June 7th. There will be a full Council meeting in July, but the next Area Committee Meeting won't be until September, when hopefully the pool will be open or close enough.

During this latest report the CEO Colm Ward stated that while the contractor programme has the pool works finishing in mid June, site visits by SDCC say this is not the case and that staff on the ground currently are not sufficient to deliver to that timeframe. He also referenced other difficulties in terms of cash flows and contractors. So the estimate has been put back to late June/early July, which is smaller than other delays and indicative of the fact that most of the work has already been completed.

In terms of pricing, the CEO said there has been "engagement with Aura, also engagement on terms for Esker Boxing Club". While most Councillors and of course Council management have focused on talking to Aura and getting movement from the company on its agreed pricing under the tender awarded for the management of the pool, my focus remains on the lack of subvention by the Council on the pool pricing in the first place, given that it is OUR PUBLIC POOL.

I told the CEO that a special meeting will need to be held in relation to the pool during the next Council term if these matters are not resolved. I did also ask why the not for profit company South Dublin Leisure Services didn't tender for the pool management, given that SDCC has an interest in this body and the reply from the Chief Executive was to the effect that South Dublin Leisure Services were in "retrenchment" and "focused on less facilities". Intriguingly, he said that when the tender comes up again (my understanding is in five years) SDLS will be in a position to tender to operate the Lucan pool.

I've mentioned previously that SDCC was willing at least to look at subsidising specific elements, eg classes for certain groups, but we have yet to see what concrete proposals they come up with.

The waiting period on completion and pricing continues and as I have done continuously during this term, I will again be highlighting this important matter at the next available opportunity should I be a member of the Lucan Palmerstown North Clondalkin Area Committee after June.

Area Committee meeting report 23rd April

I tabled another motion on this matter as a follow up to the one at the March Area Committee. I won't post a video of the full discussions this time around as there was also a joint motion by Cllrs Casserly and Tuffy and both motions were taken together, but the wording reply to mine is attached below. As you can see I queried both the construction timeline and the pool pricing:

South Dublin County Council continues to suggest that Aura Leisure are responsible for the pricing. And while I supported calls by other Councillors to write to Aura Leisure in this regard, I think people are missing the point.

The tender that Aura was successful in did not include any subvention from the Council. Therefore, as a private company which needs to make a profit from the running of the pool, the onus should not be solely on Aura. SDCC is directly responsible for omitting a subvention to keep pool prices lower, something it can do in Clondalkin and Tallaght pools because it has an interest in the not-for-profit management company South Dublin Leisure Services. This company did not tender for the Lucan pool, so SDCC officials knew precisely what they were doing.

Once again SDCC reiterated that while it will not subsidise headline prices, it could look at providing grants towards making certain types of classes or sessions cheaper for certain categories of people, in conjunction with Aura, however we have no indication as to what this will entail, if anything. I will detail as and when more information becomes available.


8th April

At the monthly Council meeting on Monday 8th April we got a further written report on current pool construction progress and I also got an opportunity to raise the proposed prices with the newly-appointed Chief Executive Colm Ward - and got a less than positive response. This was as a follow up to my detailed motion on the pricing which took place at Area Committee on 26th March. Click here to go direct to this section further down the page. I will be raising this yet again.

Aerial view of swimming pool and leisure centre complex April 2024

Latest pool construction timeline - statement from SDCC April 8th

"The projected completion date for Lucan Leisure Campus, comprising the new swimming pool and upgraded existing leisure centre, is in the second week of June, based on an updated contractor programme. This timeline depends on a number of key programme objectives being delivered in the interim including, most critically, external steelworks, pool deck screeding and tiling, pool filling/commissioning, and electrical sub-contractor works, which will all impact on other required finishing works and the contractor has been instructed to prioritise these critical dependencies and to ensure appropriate resources and productivity on site to achieve completion on schedule. Our Architects team will continue to intensively monitor and supervise the project to support getting this fantastic new amenity finished as soon as possible. In terms of project progress, the general quality of works on site remains high. Tiling to the pool area is almost complete, the moveable pool floor is installed, the changing village is fully tiled, timber flooring to all studio areas is nearing completion, as are screening and internal finishes to reception and studios. External works, including the car park and footpaths, are also well progressed while external painting of the existing leisure centre is complete, and the outstanding drainage connection issue is also in the process of being resolved with Uisce Éireann and will not impact on project completion".

Pricing issue raised with CEO

During the discussion on the CEO report and Capital Programme I took the opportunity to highlight the pricing with the newly appointed CEO directly. I urged him to intervene directly and pointed out that there is a lot of anger, disappointment and frustration in relation to the ongoing pool construction delay and now the pricing structure which does not reflect its status as a public pool.

In his reply CEO Colm Ward said that SDCC would "have to engage with Aura as they are contracted for a five year initial period". He also suggested that if the pricing isn't working "people will vote with their feet" which might encourage Aura to review their prices. While I welcome that there will be further engagement with Aura, I find this to be an unacceptable response as it still tries to distract from SDCC's responsibility in putting together a contract that did not include a subvention in the first place. I've no doubt many people will stump up at current prices, but so many others won't be able to afford to do so and it will be an inconvenience for them to travel to Clondalkin and other pools.


Pool pricing motion 26th March - full debate below

With the pool construction progressing, attention has shifted to the surprisingly high prices being quoted by Aura Leisure for casual and membership use of the Lucan pool when compared with other public pools. Because of this, I tabled a motion for the Lucan, Palmerstown, North Clondalkin Area Committee meeting at the end of March. Contrary to impressions created elsewhere, this is the ONLY motion tabled on pool prices to date. In recognition that getting funding in the first place was a team effort, I've posted the full debate here which includes my opening statement, supporting contributions from other Councillors, the response by SDCC management and my concluding remarks. These are all taken from the publicly accessible SDCC webcast which myself and others fought over many years to get.

Paul Gogarty opening statement on his motion

Contributions from other Councillors

Response by Council management

Paul Gogarty concluding remarks

Written response to motion by SDCC

Reminder of prices listed by Aura

Summary of motion debate

  • SDCC does not appear to view pricing as its own issue and blames external factors like wage increases and energy costs - this is not credible

  • The tender issued did not include a subvention as part of contract - how are prices supposed to be reduced otherwise?

  • SDCC will speak with Aura but will give no guarantees

  • Councillors strongly argued that the pricing does not reflect a public pool built out of public funds - we have no powers to force SDCC hands but points were made strongly

  • SDCC to revert at a later date and this matter will be chased up again with Chief Executive

1 Comment

This whole issue is a disgrace. Once again Lucan area has been let down by SDCC in provision of facilities. The issue of the siting of the Lucan Community Centre way back in the 1980's was a mistake and in due course became a white elephant and lost support. Many Estates like hours collected from Residents to fund that with all sorts of promises of free subsequent membership with the pool to follow. For many years we tried to support it and became little used and the end Council were satisied to just keep caretaker staff there.

A model for the Pool, Gym etc is the Ballyfermot facility both in facilities and reasonable or nil charges, dependent on status (…

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