The Franklin pool is a facility of high value to my family and because it's been plagued by issues, I was pleased that the Post had shone a bit of media light on it and I felt compelled to contribute.
I have been swimming at the pool with my kids, every Friday for the last six years. Over this period my personal observations have been that the problems there are two-pronged:
The first, is years of inadequate investment in the upkeep and maintenance of the infrastructure. The heat pump has been malfunctioning for years and is very unreliable. The problems caused by the neglected and failing equipment are always blamed on the management in charge at that time and staff who work there cop the frustration of the public. Staff become jaded and unhelpful as a result.
Having said that, moving onto the second point; the pool is not managed to industry standards. Swimming lanes are not monitored or regulated and as a result people who walk and float, hog the lanes required for people to do swim training. One can only exercise effectively there if you join, and pay, to be part of their swim squads. Otherwise, expect to be at the mercy of people who are either inconsiderate or ignorant of swimming etiquette.
People I have spoken to and myself included, who have moved here from the city, all say they had to quit swimming as recreational training because the pool is not professionally managed. The pool could go a long way by simply training the 'lifeguards', to shoulder tap people and direct them to the appropriate lanes for their speed. Perhaps it would take a little while to educate the public in how to use the pool so that all users meet their objectives, but this could be done with some signage and staff guidance. Currently the pool rules don't make any mention of swimming in the correct allocated lanes or telling people to let faster swimmers pass.
Finally, I would like to raise my personal view that this facility probably requires investment from the private sector as well as the Council; New Plymouth has a hugely successful pool that attracts substantial patronage; that was achieved through rate payer money and various sized donations by local businesses and industry. Admittedly, they have a more substantial population and had the likes of Todd Energy and TSB Bank on board, but it is still an illustration of a collaboration that achieved ambitious outcomes for that region.
Suzette van Dorsser