Canning electors meeting: Riverton Leisureplex hydrotherapy users demand their pool back

Riverton Leisureplex. Photo:
Riverton Leisureplex. Photo:

RIVERTON Leisureplex’s hydrotherapy pool users have strongly criticised the City of Canning’s pool management at the Annual General Meeting of Electors.

Users of the pool who require it for physical therapy attended last night’s meeting to accuse the City of lacking empathy and compassion over their decision to exclude them from the pool during peak hours.

Baby and toddler swim classes will have exclusive use of the pool from 4.45pm to 6.15pm on weekdays during school terms following a decision last November.

The decision followed a trial period in term four of 2018, where the pool was shared on Wednesdays from 5.15pm to 6.15pm between the classes and swimmers who required the pool for physical therapy.

Multiple people expressed disappointment over the way people who required the pool for therapy had been treated.

Elaine Schofield said she was “grossly disappointed” in some of the decisions which had been made in respect of people with disabilities and the elderly.

She asked how the decision to exclude therapy pool users aligned with the City’s Disability Access and Inclusion Plan and also commented on the lack of access to the 50m pool for people living with disabilities.

Lyla Petty said while therapy pool users were fully aware of the advantages of young children learning to swim, it was wrong to assume people who used the pool for therapy would be able to structure their days around the new schedule.

Executive Manager of Business Steve Leeson said they needed to balance the competing needs of a number of community groups across the facility and the Lesiureplex still offered therapy pool users significant access, far greater than other metropolitan councils.

He said learning to swim was an important skill for young children and the hydrotherapy suite’s warmer water reduced the risk of infant hypothermia, while physiotherapy exercises could also be done in the facility’s walking lanes.

People at last night’s meeting voted in favour of hydrotherapy pool user Cheryl Wee’s motion for the council to develop a policy for the hydrotherapy pool to be used for its intended purpose.

Her motion also asked council to ensure exclusive for therapy pool users Monday-Friday from 4pm onwards, utilise and maximise the use of other swimming pools at Leisureplex and review scheduling decisions with the City’s Disability Access and Inclusion Plan.

The motion, along with two others passed by electors relating to Shelley Beach parking and biodiversity, will be considered at the next ordinary council meeting in February.