Marking the end of the Lismore Memorial Baths swimming season are John Jessup (left), of Lismore, and pool lifeguard Gabriel Matur.
Marking the end of the Lismore Memorial Baths swimming season are John Jessup (left), of Lismore, and pool lifeguard Gabriel Matur. Jacklyn Wagner

Memorial pool shut for winter

SUMMER may have officially ended last February, but for regular swimmers at the Lismore Memorial Baths it ends today.

After the heated pool has remained opened for years with reduced hours, the council has decided to close it completely this year as it trims expenditure. It will not re-open until August 30.

For regular pool goers, who had their last dip yesterday, it will be a long wait.

John Jessup of Lismore said he usually heads to the pool five times a week and is not pleased he will now have to go to the university pool because his impaired eyesight makes it difficult to ride to the Goonellabah Sports and Aquatic Centre.

“I’ve been coming here for 12 or 13 years,” he said.

“I’m very disappointed they are closing the pool for three months because they are virtually saving nothing but are losing three months of income.”

Like the loose band of users who jokingly call themselves ‘The John Cleese Pool of Funny Walks’ and gathered for a poolside farewell breakfast yesterday, Mr Jessop uses the baths as a hydrotherapy treatment for his bad back.

Gina Francis, also of Lismore, who was at yesterday’s early morning breakfast, has been suffering from idiosyncratic pulmonary Fibrosis since 2007.

She said she uses the pool as ‘a safe place to exercise’ and is angry about its closure for winter.

“A lot of people with different health conditions use the pool. I’ll now have to find other ways to exercise like Thai Chi but it’s hard to exercise on your own,” she said.

“We have become an odds and sods group who exchange ideas on different exercises and help each other out.”

Lismore Councillor and avid swimmer Vanessa Ekins said after spending $12 million on upgrading the pool it was a ‘shame’ the pool was closed for winter.

Yearly pass holders can either use their pass at Goonellabah or place a pause on it for winter.



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