Residents Locked out of Public Swimming Pool
On July 16, 2019 at 2.30pm the Friends of Russell Island Swimming Pool will submit a petition to Redland City Council at their Cleveland office.
The petition requests that the council:
1) Open the Bay Island Aquatic Centre (BIAC) on Russell Island to the public throughout the day, seven days a week, all year long.
2) Install an EPTPOS machine.
3) Create a kiosk with useful sundries for sale.
4) Hold Lifesaving/Swimming instructor training at BIAC to create local qualified individuals.
5) Give pool access to exercise physiologists and have regular fitness classes at BIAC.
6) Make public all documents past and present regarding pool management and funding.
(The principal petitioner is Ms Susan Ward of Lamb Island ).
The construction of the pool was financed by a special levy paid by Island ratepayers which raised $400,000 in 2004. Queensland State Government provided $110,000 and the Redland City Council provided the land and $531,000. (A copy of a letter from the RCC detailing these costings is available upon request).
For the last three years the opening hours of the pool have been extremely restricted. During the summer school term the pool is only open 34 hours a week, and is closed entirely on Tuesdays and Thursdays. During the school term the pool is closed every weekday during the warmest part of the day (10am- 3pm) which means that parents with small children have no refuge from the heat of the day. The approximately 3,000 people who reside on Macleay Island, Lamb Island and Karragarra Island are even more restricted as they have to rely on Ferries to get to the pool which do not coincide conveniently with current opening hours.
A survey conducted of 20 SE Queensland swimming pools shows that every other pool in the region is open an average of 92 hours per week and not one is closed during winter. The Bay Islands Aquatic Centre on Russell Island is closed between Easter and October every year. Swimmers have nowhere safe to swim on the islands at low tide during the warmer months and nowhere at all to swim in winter despite the pool being solar heated – another feature that was funded by residents.
This wonderful community asset is sitting empty and unused, except by ducks. The Southern Moreton Bay Islands has a high proportion of elderly residents, and incidence of disability than mainland SE Queensland. It is unconscionable that residents in general are unable to benefit from hydrotherapy, swimming lessons, exercise and the general health benefits that other communities take for granted, and that sick and disabled people who need hydrotherapy are forced to travel to the mainland for treatment at extra cost and inconvenience when our pool is sitting there unused.
Currently, the pool is owned by the Queensland State Government (ownership was signed over by the RCC in 2014) and is managed by the RCC. There is a memorandum of understanding in place covering this arrangement. Requests to view this document were ignored.