MAJOR structural works to the tune of $80,000 will delay the opening of Tamworth's city pool by at least three weeks.
The pool was set to reopen once Chaffey Dam reached 30 per cent, triggering Stage 3 water restrictions, but swimmers may have to wait a while longer due to the need for repairs to the concrete along each side of the 50m-long pool.
Since April last year, the pool has sat empty due to the region's drought conditions, prompting fears among stakeholders the pool may be closed forever.
However, Tamworth Regional Council's sports and recreation manager Paul Kelly said the works were proof of the council's commitment to keeping the pool operational.
"It is an unfortunate situation, but the council has jumped onto it quickly," Mr Kelly said.
"We have spent a considerable amount of money on the pool since it has been closed and while this is not something we were planning to do now, the good news is this work will help preserve the longevity of this community asset.
"The safety of our community is always our first concern and the councillors agreed to spend the money needed to complete the repairs.
"I understand people are very passionate about this facilitate and the council is committed to keep the pool open."
As the city awaits the introduction of Stage 3 water restrictions, Scully Pool will remain open, as will the shire's other swimming facilities.
"Our hope is that by the time the work is completed in early November, we will have had enough rain to take the water level at Level 3 restrictions," Mr Kelly said.
"Deterioration of the concrete deck has been monitored though ongoing regular inspections and when checked in January this year by a structural engineer, it was identified as requiring replacing in the next three to five years.
"Staff recently noticed the cracks have become considerably worse and following further engineer inspections the council decided that it was too high a risk to open the pool in its current state.
"Hopefully, we can get the rain we need in the next few weeks so the community can once again use this facility."
Mr Kelly said the site would continue to play a pivotal role in the city's recreational scene, particularly since the council's plans for the Tamworth Aquatic Centre were put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We have got several different clubs that are reliant on this facility being up and running," he said.
"Those stakeholders were incredibly patient with us last year while the pool was closed, and while we were in uncharted territory with only one pool in the city last year, we are ready for that now because of that experience."