The ongoing saga of our city’s hydrotherapy pool has caused considerable angst.
The Hydrotherapy Pool helps people who may be suffering from injuries or joint pain, and it was extremely disappointing that Armidale was left without this much-needed facility for months. And while it has now reopened, its future remains in limbo.
Located at Armidale Hospital, Hunter New England Heath announced the closure in January, citing ongoing water quality problems.
That was a decision which sparked an outcry from our community who said the pool was a vital and well-used service.
In March a new filtration system had been installed with hopes for the pool to reopen once water quality testing was conducted.
Then in May, at a secret meeting, Hunter New England Health delivered a blow to some of the pool’s users.
Volunteers were later told their groups were no longer a priority and that many of their normal swimming time slots were not available.
Volunteer numbers were slashed and group supervisors were suddenly required to have vaccinations, take online exams and complete training courses if they wanted to continue using the pool.
In the same month, the health service announced the building needed further repairs – but dodged questions about what needed to be done.
It has been frustrating for many people, with bureaucratic red tape not helping.
Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall has since been in discussions with a number of passionate locals about planning and constructing a new and larger hydrotherapy pool in Armidale, away from the hospital.
He has said no one knows how much longer the existing pool will last, so it made a lot of sense to look toward the future and ensure that Armidale always has a hydrotherapy pool for the community.
Former pool superviser Jenny Bailey has said building a pool away from the hospital would solve a lot of bureaucratic issues, and make the facility more accessible to the general public.
The Armidale Express welcomes the move to start planning a new hydrotherapy pool away from the hospital. We have seen how important this facility is to our city.
The first meeting of the working party will be held on August 7 and we look forward to progress being made.