SWIMMERS have hit out at council's decision to close the pool one month early, labelling it as "deplorable" and one that fails to take into account the mental and physical health of Tamworth locals.
Patrick O'Halloran told the Leader he'd been swimming at the Kable Avenue pool his whole life - more than 60 years - and was surprised to learn of the sudden, impending closure during his Friday morning dip with his swimming group.
"We were in a state of shock and disbelief," he said. "Personally, I think it's a deplorable decision."
Tamworth Regional Council confirmed the gates would be closed on the Tamworth city pool on Sunday night, and would not reopen again until next season.
It was scheduled to stay open until April.
In a statement to the Leader, council's sport and recreation manager Paul Kelly said the pool numbers had dipped to less than 100 visitors per day, due to colder weather and chilly water temperatures.
Mr O'Halloran said he believed it was an "economic decision", and said the money ratepayers hand over to council should be enough to justify keeping the pool open.
"We all pay massive rates, they should cover the shortfall in running the pool ... just like the city library, cemetery, sporting fields - rates are geared toward keep public assets open," he said.
"There should have been greater thought given to the issues transcending the cost ... council should look at the non-economic kaleidoscope of issues including the physical and mental health of residents."
Mr Kelly said the Scully park pool would remain open as usual, where the temperature of the water can be better controlled.
Tamworth City Swim Club has already moved over to Scully park pool for training, due to the cooler water temperatures.
Vice President Grant Simm told the Leader club swimmers will share the pool with the public, a second swimming club and water polo players.
"It'll be be tricky, with lots of give and take for all clubs ... but it's only for another month or so, so we can survive."
Personally think it's a deplorable decision.Patrick O'Halloran
Mr O'Halloran said he was "undecided" whether he'd make the trip there for his morning swim.
"There will be too many people congregating at Scully at the same time," he said.
Mr O'Halloran said that as a lifetime user of the Olypmic pool who visited each morning, he was concerned the council had made no "communication" with his swimming group.
"The way around it is to open from 5:30am to 9am for the early morning swimmers," he said.
But, Mr Kelly said he was confident the numbers of swimmers could be "easily" accommodated at just one pool.
Residents took a dive into Tamworth Olympic Pool for the first time in more than 18 months when the facility reopened to swimmers in mid-December.
The reopening only came after more than $80,000 of repairs and the move to Level 3 water restrictions.
Mr Kelly reassured the community that the plan was to open the city pool once again when the next season starts.
"The decision to close Olympic Pool early for the 2020-2021 aquatic season has been based on isolated factors related to the cooler weather, a rapid decrease in water temperature and its associated impact on patronage," he said.
"This is not a permanent closure ... operationally the pool is fine and we look forward to opening it again later in the year for the next summer."
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