Peakhurst West Public School pool changes raise concerns

Pool changes: The car park that was available to pool users.

Pool changes: The car park that was available to pool users.

The Co-operative that manages Peakhurst West Public School pool says the community will lose out following changes to on-site parking.

The Peakhurst West Pool Co-operative was established in the mid-1970s to manage the pool on the agreement that parking within the school grounds continue for pool users.

But at a meeting with the school and the co-operative in September this year, the school announced it would erect a fence and would cease on-site parking outside of school hours and during holidays.

An outdoor pool opened in 1961 on school grounds following a major fund-raising effort by the community. In 1977, it became an indoor heated pool and 12 years later was replaced with a 25-metre pool that was mainly used as a learn to swim centre for children.

Chairman of the co-operative, John Thomas, says the change represents an increase in risk and inconvenience to pool users.

“In the event of an emergency, an ambulance would not have ready access to the pool complex,” he said.

“This change will also significantly impact on the shops, particularly on weekends when the pool is very busy.

“Parking in the area is already at a premium with limited parking at the nearby block of shops in Ogilvy Street and the proposed child care centre opposite the school.

“I suggested that student safety could be better managed by an alternate positioning of the fence that would keep students and cars separate at the same or less cost.”

Mr Thomas received a letter from the school that stated the fence would reduce maintenance and cleaning costs.

“We were told [18 months ago] that there was consideration being given to fencing off the car park but that no decision had been taken,” he said.

“The Co-operative feels that this fencing exercise is nothing more than further alienating the pool and its user community.

“Changes such as this are clearly in breach of the agreement that is in place, which normally would be the subject of negotiation with the department.”

A spokesman for the Department of Education says the safety and well-being of students is the school’s paramount priority.

“A fence has been erected at the school for the sole purpose of ensuring the safety of students,” he said.

“Parking is available on-street around the school and emergency services can access the site if needed.”

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