Swimming Pools U-Turn on Anglesey
by David Phillips
Anglesey Councillors who tried to close two swimming pools on the island against fierce and informed public opposition have postponed the key vote.
A full council meeting was due to decide the fate both of Holyhead and Amlwch swimming pools and the future of Beaumaris Leisure Centre on 15 September.
Now it turns out that Councillor Clive McGregor, Leader and member for Llanddyfnan, has announced a "U-turn", while more work is done to find the best way forward.
It looks as if this is more of a postponement rather than a final U-turn as Anglesey Council look for a viable solution.
Protests from members of the public at Amlwch, Holyhead, and Beaumaris have set the tone of the debate, which is focusing more on the public health aspects rather than the leisure component of these vital public services.
Local MP Albert Owen is calling on the Council to be far more imaginative in their search for a solution by approaching energy companies who could help make the swimming pools and leisure centres on the island far greener by cutting heat and electricity costs.
It seems to many that the closure proposals put forward by Councillor Goronwy Parry, Portfolio holder for Education and Leisure, on behalf of the Council Executive
are driven solely by financial considerations, with no apparent thought to the
long term damage to public health outcomes.
A number of people have raised the issue of children not having the facilities to learn to swim, and the consequent heightened risks of drowning. What appeared to fan the flames was a remark reportedly made by Councillor Parry that Anglesey has some of the best beaches in Wales.
He said: "There are many ways to keep fit and healthy, without needing to use leisure facilities." But surely this is about having the opportunity to exercise and avoid long term chronic illnesses in the safe environment of a swimming pool and training room.
Why do medical practitioners prescribe a course of swimming and exercises in the gym at the island "leisure" centres if it is not conducive to healthy living?
Swimming is one of the best forms of exercise for rehabilitation after an operation or illness.
At least we see that there is now a strong tide moving in the direction of keeping the pools open, as all the Labour councillors on Anglesey Council are with Albert Owen MP in calling for this plan to be abandoned.Related Articles:Anger at Anglesey Council Plans to Close Island Swimming PoolsHolyhead Swimming Pool Closure Threat
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