Newlands pool reopens… in time for winter

Newlands swimming pool has reopened.

Newlands swimming pool reopened last weekend, nearly five years after it closed for a R22 million upgrade.

Dignitaries, professional swimmers and representatives from swimming clubs attended a ceremony at the pool on Saturday morning before it opened to the public later that day.

The Cape Town Aquatics synchronised swimmers took the first plunge, performing multiple sequences.

The drought and then the pandemic had delayed the renovations, said mayoral committee member for community services and health Patricia van der Ross.

“Yes, it took longer than expected, but we had to make sure that all safety checks were in place, we had to take into account the heritage status of the building, we had to make sure everything was in working order before we could reopen this facility,” she said.

Workers had removed all asbestos pipes; repaired filtration pipes; tiled and paved; waterproofed and released control joints in the main, diving and baby pools; upgraded the electrical reticulation system; refurbished the grandstand; serviced the filtration room; connected new pipes and performed maintenance on the ablution facilities and commentator’s box.

City recreation and parks official Nabeel Bassadien said they had taken the facility’s heritage into account when doing the renovations.

“This building is 60 years old, which comes with its own challenges. There was no significant changes to the structure of the facility, just the upgrading of its infrastructure,” he said.

Ms Van der Ross said she had fond childhood memories of travelling to the pool from Lotus River with her family to spend the day there, and she encouraged the public to take a dip before winter arrived.

“We are very pleased that the public can now return to enjoy what’s on offer, whether it is just a day by the pool, or to enjoy competitive swimming galas. I want to thank our patrons for their patience during what was a very arduous process. I also want to thank the project management team for getting over the line, in spite of the many challenges,” she said.

Ward 59 councillor Mikhail Manuel said he had been inundated with questions from people wanting to know when the pool would reopen. “I am very pleased with the opening and the renovations done,” he said.

Cape Town Aquatics vice-chairman Fagri Omar said they were happy to finally have a 50-metre pool in the metro that could host Olympic and gala events.

“We will definitely reach out to the City to host these events, which could help bring back tourism into the city. More importantly, our swimmers now have a sufficient facility to train,” he said.

Public pools were important for teaching children to swim and getting them water safe, he added.

The facility, which can accommodate up to 600 visitors, will be open daily from 10am to 5pm. Entry is R32 for adults and R18 for children. There is no charge for persons with disabilities and pensioners. Due to its late opening, the facility will remain open until the end of May.

Patricia van der Ross, mayoral committee member for community services and health, at the opening.
The diving pool area.
Cape Town Aquatics gave a synchronized swimming demonstration.
The new changing area.
These geese could not help but give the new pool a try.