Keetmanshoop public pool in dire state

21 Dec 2017 15:30pm
By Charlene Vries
KEETMANSHOOP, 21 DEC (NAMPA) – The infrastructure of the Keetmanshoop public swimming pool has been deteriorating and upkeep neglected in recent years.
This is evident by the leaking pipes, algae build-up in the pool, broken security fences and unsightly peeling of paint from the walls both in- and outside the town’s popular leisure facility.
Keetmanshoop is well-known for extremely high temperatures, especially during the end-of-year summer holidays, when heat regularly measures over 40 degrees Celsius.
This is especially the time when hundreds of locals and visitors alike descend on the pool in search of some relief, particularly as the southern capital offers limited recreational options.
When approached for comment about the state of pool, Public Relations Officer of the Keetmanshoop Municipality, Dawn Kruger noted the debilitating state of the pool’s facilities, but added that plans are underway to start renovations early in January.
Kruger said the pool is not a profit-generating entity and currently operates at a loss.
“No budget is allocated for it, thus the municipality maintains and runs the facility on own funds under operations, as part of its services offered to the public,” she said.
The entry fee is also significantly low to accommodate everyone, especially the youngsters of the town.
“Suggestions from some members of the community to privatise the pool is not an option, because it will make it less accessible to the public,” Kruger said.
Recently hired lifeguard, Gunther Bezuidenhout, said that due to the broken suction pipe, dust particles have been settling on the bottom of the pool, forming algae, which he and the caretaker sweeps manually and filters daily.
Through this, they remove about 70 per cent of the debris, Bezuidenhout said.
He has requested a new suction pipe as well as a pool cover to minimise dust settling.
“Apart from the faulty suction, the filters are functioning and clean water is continually pumped back into the pool. The water is tested daily to maintain the correct pH,” the lifeguard said.
He stated that chlorine levels in the water are one hundred per cent safe and sanitary for the public.
Another concern that emerged through Nampa’s investigations for this report is the damage done to the underground watering pipes and pool by the roots of the lush trees outside the facility.
This agency understands that the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry has been informed about the intrusions caused by the trees.
With safety being paramount, Bezuidenhout has set in place new safety protocols and plans to initiate a water safety awareness week, commencing 2018.
He urged parents not to send their underage children to the pool unsupervised, also advising young people to refrain from using alcohol, vandalising the property and harassing others on the family friendly premises.
On weekends, around 600 people visit the pool, which only has a bathing capacity of 350, thus extra security and lifeguards are needed at these times.
Shading is a problem and Bezuidenhout is appealing to local businesses to assist in this regard.
The aging pavilion will also be replaced in due course, he said optimistically.
To up profit and maintain the pool, he hopes management will grant his requests for slides and a solar water heating system to keep the pool open during the winter months.