Call to warm the pool

MORE than 270 people have signed a petition calling for a Latrobe City pool to be heated to at least 32 degrees one day a week.

Seventy-eight year-old Lenore Cox has arthritis and other medical conditions, which have seen her complete exercises three to four times a week at Warragul’s hydrotherapy pool.

Since Warragul Leisure Centre’s pool closure from 1 April for major renovations, the Moe resident has attended Morwell Leisure Centre’s pool, whose temperature averages 29.5 degrees.

“The temperature is too cold and I’m in pain during the exercises and for 24 hours afterwards,” Ms Cox said.

“While it benefits me doing the exercises, if I don’t have access to a warm pool, my health deteriorates.”

Ms Cox said the Warragul pool was the only affordable public hydrotherapy pool within 80 kilometres of her home, which she has been relying upon for the past six years.

With renovations expected to take about 15 to 18 months, she has contacted individuals and community organisations to generate support for a closer facility.

“Really, with something the size of Latrobe City, there should be a place where people with the needs like me can go and benefit,” Ms Cox said.

People with arthritis, disabilities or those awaiting surgery often rely on hydrotherapy or warmer pool temperatures to complete rehabilitation exercises.

Ms Cox said residents from Latrobe City, Baw Baw and other shires had signed the petition she began on 10 March, along with mothers of young children.

She is asking for the temperature increase at either Latrobe Leisure Moe Newborough or Latrobe Leisure Morwell to occur on one day of the weekend.

It will take an estimated 12 to 18 hours to increase the temperature by two degrees and a further 10 to 16 hours to decrease, depending on pool deck and outside temperatures.

Latrobe City councillor Sharon Gibson said she understood the importance of hydrotherapy and did not believe lap swimmers who preferred the cooler temperature would be affected.

“These people have to go and do water exercises to help them,” Cr Gibson said.

“Some of them go and do that, which is what they have to do medically, but because the pool is too cold, they then receive other problems.”

About 25 to 30 swimmers of Moe Swimming Club train at the Moe Newborough pool three afternoons each week.

President Jason Price said although his swimmers were satisfied with the pool’s current temperature at 30.5 degrees, the club would support the change.

“We’re an entry level club, but again I think if that helps the community use the pool or facilities more often, we’d support it,” Mr Price said.

The petition was presented to council on Monday night and will be laid on the table until its next meeting on 25 May, where Ms Cox will also speak.

She invites all affected community groups to write a formal letter of support to Latrobe City chief executive Gary Van Driel by this date.