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Lucan Pool Progress Feb/March 2024

This update 28th March replaces ones on 11th March, 5th March and 21st Feb. Click on highlighted areas for earlier January Site Visit and Dec/Jan Pool Update.


Motion tabled at Area Committee on pool pricing


I was the only Councillor to bring this item forward as a motion to Area Committee on Tuesday last 26th March. This allowed a good discussion on the issue and I thank Council colleagues for their support.


I will provide a full update on the debate in the coming days. I'll be a little while longer with this more comprehensive version because it actually takes me a while to edit video content.


I go through subtitles line by line and edit my videos as diligently as possible rather than using automatic titles. I think it's important to use proper subtitles with correct spelling where possible to assist members of the deaf community, those hard of hearing, or indeed people unable to turn up their sound volume at at a given time.


So for now here's the written wording of the motion. The transcribed wording of my contribution and the Manager's reply will be posted up at the start of my April May 2024 swimming pool update. I will also include the full contributions from other Councillors given that it's such an important issue.


MEETING OF LUCAN / PALMERSTOWN / NORTH CLONDALKIN AREA COMMITTEE

Tuesday, March 26, 2024


MOTION NO.16

MOTION: Councillor P. Gogarty

That this Committee calls on the Chief Executive to ensure that prices at the Lucan swimming pool and leisure centre are reduced via subvention, as current listed Aura Leisure prices show that PAYG and annual membership will be significantly higher than other public facilities such as Clondalkin and indeed some private operators and that this goes against the spirit of what is supposed to be community rather than a commercial facility, even allowing for a "sinking fund" to pay for maintenance costs down the line.


REPORT:

We are working with Aura Leisure to review their proposed membership and PAYG price plans. The prices that have been proposed are influenced by recent increased energy costs and increases to the minimum wage .

We will continue to engage with Aura Leisure and explore available options which may help offer services to the community at a reduced cost.


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March 11th

Pool opening now looks closer to September


There has been a significant progress since the last update and a much clearer indication on timelines. However that clarity also shows that the pool works won't be completed before the end of April earliest and the most likely scenario is early June, with another two weeks after that to sign off on related health and safety issues. At that stage the pool will be handed over to Aura Leisure who told us at a meeting on Tuesday February 20th that they will need about two months for staff training and installation of equipment and IT systems. Read on for more detailed information...


The CEO made brief comments on pricing and pool timeline 11th March Monthly Council meeting. A number of queries were made by myself and other Councillors in this regard. I mentioned I have a motion coming up at the end of month Area Committee meeting, but stressed to the Acting CEO this needs to be looked at seriously.


Regarding pricing: "I think the community team are talking to the operator about what the proposals are and we will work it through..." In terms of any further indication about the timeline, he said that there will be "a detailed update at next council meeting which will bring completion to the timeline".


We did get to see a number of photographs of the pool in the CEO report which I have added in here. As you will recall we were not allowed take any photos during our site visit and were promised some images, which have not yet been made available.


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Update on pool works as per Area Committee meeting 27th Feb


  • The movable floor has been delivered and installed

  • The screeding to the pool is complete

  • The tiling to the multi-functional pool and the floor of the main pool is complete and grouted

  • Tiling to the walls of the main pool is underway. Grouting to the floor tiles of the changing village is underway

  • SDCC have requested that Irish Water review the foul connection issue and address. IW have suggested arranging another meeting with the designers to progress/resolve this issue. SDCC have instructed their design team to engage further

  • Completion date remains under review and the progress on site is being assessed to inform same. SDCC will advise in the coming weeks of the expected completion date following completion of the project milestones outlined during the site visits carried out on 26th January & 2nd February


South Dublin County Council is understandably reluctant to give a firm date for final completion but the expectation now is that everything will be finished on-site by early June latest, with a further two weeks for inspections. At that stage the facility should be ready to hand over to Aura Leisure. One of the remaining outstanding works relates to water utilities connection, but this has been escalated, apparently, and so should not lead to any delays of itself. Normal caveats apply in terms of the long delays experienced up until now, but as each job is completed the list of things to do is smaller and there is now greater clarity on timelines. There is always a risk that this estimated date will pass by, but equally there is a slight chance that works may even be completed earlier than currently expected.




The above two images of the pool were made available in the CE Report at the Council meeting on 11th March


Meeting with Aura Leisure Services 20th February


Councillors were given a presentation on Tuesday 20th February by Aura Leisure Services, the company that won the tender to manage the pool. While a lot of the presentation was about the company itself and its commitment to health and safety issues and community engagement, we did get some useful information on what the final project will look like under its management.


Two months to set up

Aura Leisure have no control over the completion date but did clarify that once snags are completed and signed off, it will take them two months to get ready, This is longer than SDCC previously indicated but it does involve a range of works including installation of gym equipment, IT systems and a significant amount of staff training.


Pricing (updated 5th March as full list now sent in by Aura Leisure)



Paul comment: The pricing provided by Aura Leisure was supposed to be reflective of the subvention being provided by South Dublin County Council. However it is clear from looking at Pay As You Go and annual membership with Clondalkin pool, other Aura pools and some private facilities that the prices are at the upper end of a mid-range facility and do not reflect that this is a public, community pool.


My understanding is that the pricing is partially geared in such a way that the pool's future refurbishment costs will be self financing. However for the average family the prices are relatively expensive and it would be hugely difficult for families on low incomes to be able to afford to use regularly.


It may not have any effect, but in this respect I have tabled the following motion for the Area Committee meeting at the end of March: "That this Committee calls on the Chief Executive to ensure that prices at the Lucan swimming pool and leisure centre are reduced via subvention, as current listed Aura Leisure prices show that PAYG and annual membership will be significantly higher than other public facilities such as Clondalkin and indeed some private operators and that this goes against the spirit of what is supposed to be community rather than a commercial facility, even allowing for a "sinking fund" to pay for maintenance costs down the line."


It was always going to be dearer tendered to a private company rather than run directly or by a not for profit company like South Dublin Leisure Services, but SDLS (part-owned by SDCC) did not tender to manage the pool. SDCC was still supposed to have subsidised prices. That said, they also maintained that they would ensure future pool repairs were paid for out of day to day income.

In all this, the public element has disappeared. My motion for the end of March is seeking to reduce prices and get more clarity, but it won’t be legally binding on SDCC.


Opening hours

The new facility will initially be open from 7am-9pm Monday to Friday and 9am-6pm weekends and bank holidays. A number of residents have queried whether an earlier 6:30am opening could be scheduled and this is something I'm happy to chase up again. Several Aura pools open at 6:30am so this can be reviewed down the line.



Equipment


An Oxford Dipper pool hoist similar to the one pictured above will be installed beside both pools

The main pool as previously outlined will be 25m in length and 13m wide. Some of the features of the pool complex will include a special changing places facility designed to support those with more complex needs. Specialist equipment includes a ceiling hoist system, accessible shower, basin and toilet handrails and emergency pull chord.


The main pool and the diving pool will both have Oxford Dipper pool hoists installed.

The equipment in the gym will be state of the art and open for people of all ages and fitness abilities. I already referenced that there will be a number of studio rooms adjacent for various classes.


Room hire

At the meeting I queried access to rooms for previous users of the leisure centre. There has been some engagement between Aura Leisure and a number of these groups already, as well as Esker Boxing Club, who will be assigned space in the new facility also. If your group was using Lucan Leisure Centre previously, the new manager of the facility Emma Killeen will be happy to talk to you and I can pass on contact details if required. Aura leisure will also be renting out slots to other groups based on need and availability.


Café

There will be a café in the facility, which may not be open initially until everything else is up and running. Aura does not operate cafés in its own venues and because this is not a core area for the management company they are still exploring options in terms of whether to operate the café directly or tender it out. I will update as and when more information becomes available.

Car Parking

There will be 106 car parking spaces at the facility (when opened) which it is anticipated will meet demand for most of the time, but may come under pressure at weekends. As car parking was available previously for access to Griffeen Valley Park and playground, used by football teams for matches adjacent and also used for drop-offs to local schools and childcare facilities, it is hard to assess yet what the average capacity will be on a given hour. This is an area that will likely need to be looked at in more detail down the line.


Other information

During their presentation, the Aura Leisure team were keen to stress their emphasis on health and safety and constant training of staff, with regular external audits. The new facility will employ between 35-40 people between full and part-time contracts and there will be a good emphasis on teaching swimming skills. Schools will be able to book sessions during the day and there will also be dedicated lessons available for children scheduled in the afternoons. Aqua aerobics will be slotted in for those interested also. Councillors will be given a tour of the facility by Aura a month before it opens, so I look forward to seeing the completed building and sharing what information I can.


ENDS

Yorumlar


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