Campaigners host silent ‘Open Our Pools’ protest at closed, unmanned pools

The region’s five unmanned pools remain closed.

 

ON Saturday morning, in a silent protest, ‘Open Our Pools’ signs appeared at the front of all five closed unmanned public pools in Stroud, Krambach, Bulahdelah, Nabiac and Tea Gardens in the MidCoast Local Government Area, NSW.

Saturday’s protest is the latest in a string of lobbying efforts from local Councillors, local Ministers, and thousands of residents, all desperate to have these pools open to the public this summer.

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These unstaffed public pools have been closed for almost two years.

Many frustrated residents say lobbying for all the pools to be opened have been blocked online by council staff.

MidCoast Council’s General Manager, Adrian Panuccio, in a recent private email to a State Member of the Legislative Council, blamed the NSW Health COVID-19 Orders, stating, “The MidCoast Council is unable to meet the criteria at these pools”, adding that, “a lack of staff resources and the ability to service the additional costs associated with providing supervision at these pools are the primary reasons they are closed”.

Stroud and Hawks Nest resident Carolyn Dufton stated, “There is no evidence that the MidCoast Council’s General Manager and his senior staff have done any planning over the last 18 months to safely reopen all our public pools to the public.

“The Council has doubled down on no pools despite our efforts.

“For Stroud and other nearby communities, that means no swimming for our children and young people, no lessons, and no exercise for adults.

“MidCoast Council is the only Local Government Area in NSW where this is happening.”

MidCoast Council has maintained it is the fault of Premier Perrottet and NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard that unstaffed public pools have ‘slipped between the cracks’ of the current COVID Health Orders.

In most of these small regional communities, the local pools were built by residents and are a hub for healthy community activities, essential to recovery from COVID lockdown.

Community groups have escalated the matter to elected state and federal government representatives as well as oversight agencies.

The signs have reportedly been torn down by the MidCoast Council, and have been considered vandalism.

 

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