Riverton Leisureplex hydrotherapy pool users hit out over exclusion from prime time slots

Stock image.
Stock image.

RIVERTON Leisureplex’s hydrotherapy pool users have lashed out at a decision to give baby and toddler swim classes exclusive use of the pool at prime time slots next year.

The baby and toddler classes will have exclusive use of the pool from 4.45pm to 6.15pm on weekdays during school terms.

The decision followed a trial period in term four this year, 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.

Sharon Pryde has used the pool for the past six years to help with hereditary spastic paraplegia, a neurological condition, which forces her to use crutches to walk.

She said she was “dumbfounded” the City of Canning had completely ignored the needs of people with physical disabilities.

“The additional exclusive use allocated to swim school creates unreasonable times for therapy users to use the pool, which will be difficult to accommodate due to working full-time in the northern suburbs of Perth and having a physiotherapist with me in the pool to assist in my exercise program,” she said.

Ms Pryde said she used the pool for 60 to 90 minutes and needed as much space as possible to go through her various exercises, so sharing was difficult.

“As a disabled person, I cannot use the pool as a shared-use facility with swim school due to the space required to complete exercises and I cannot use the leisure pools as they have children running around and the pools are not heated suitably for therapy purposes,” she said.

Fellow hydrotherapy pool user Lyla Petty works in Perth and attends after work, to maintain flexibility and strength post-knee and wrist surgery. She said the change would affect her.

“I will have no flexibility and will be unable to attend,” she said.

“This is a rare facility and many travel from outside the City of Canning just to access.”

Canning Mayor Paul Ng said a number of factors had been taken into account before making the decision, including demand through inquiries, analysis of hydrotherapy usage from 2013-18 and hydrotherapy patronage between 5pm to 7pm.

He said the public would have exclusive use of the pool outside of school terms and the 90-minute weekday slots for toddler classes.

“The therapy pool is open 97 hours each week, 85 per cent of the time there is public access available,” he said.

“Anyone affected by lessons on weekdays can access the pool before 4.45pm and after 6.15pm until the pool closes at 8.30pm.”

Mayor Ng said feedback conducted during the trial period indicated shared use of the pool was not conducive to each group’s needs and feedback from therapy customers revealed they were unwilling to share the pool.