Bega Valley Shire Council’s swimming pools in Bega, Bemboka, Candelo, Cobargo and Eden have now all closed until spring after a challenging year for staff and patrons.
The indoor Sapphire Aquatic Centre in Pambula will remain open throughout the coming cooler months.
Pools Coordinator Nic Hoynes said the year had been unusual and challenging at times but the community had rallied to use the pools – even under changed circumstances.
“It’s the end to a very unique season having dealt with closures and booking systems to ensure safety of customers and staff amid a global pandemic and extreme weather events,” Mr Hoynes said.
“In spite of dealing with challenges beyond our control we have achieved a lot this year, keeping attendance up despite difficult circumstances and a big increase in the delivery of learn-to-swim programs.
“It’s also been a real boost being able to deliver more programs for local schools thanks to NSW Department of Education funding.
“Additional funding has come from the Department of Regional NSW for the Summer Splash pool parties which were a real hit with the community,” he said.
“And a grant from the Sapphire Coast Youth Arts and Sports Development Fund has given the Bemboka community an aquatic volleyball net to expand on the activities run at the pool.”
Mr Hoynes said delivering a safe environment was always a priority but having to implement strict COVID safe restrictions on pool users this year had meant staff members and contractors stepping up to meet the challenge.
“We pushed ahead with renewing the pool paint lining and finalising maintenance works at the Cobargo pool,” he said.
“It’s been a tough year for many in the Cobargo community, so delivering these pool improvements was a priority for us.
“And to acknowledge a year since the end of the Black Summer bushfires while saying a big thank you to everyone who supports their local pool, we invited the community to swim for free at the Bega Valley Free Swim Weekend this March.
“We look forward to being ready to reopen for another fantastic season next spring.”