Major work undertaken
BALTIMORE Community Leisure Centre finally opened its doors last Saturday, March 7, 2009 – a few days later than planned. “It was well worth the wait!” declared the first swimmers in on Saturday morning, as the swimming pool is absolutely gleaming.
The main works undertaken over the past few weeks have been to completely replace the ceiling over the pool, which has resulted in a clean attractive ceiling system, purpose-built for swimming pools. This will prevent heat leaking up into the attic space of the building and will reduce heating costs.
Also undertaken over the past few weeks have been electrical work, repairs and servicing of equipment within the leisure centre and a leak in the swimming pool has also been fixed. In order to be able to do the job properly it required the pool to be completely drained and then refilled. Consequently, there was a delay last week waiting for the water temperature to rise to the required level.
John Kearney, the driving force behind the team who has succeeded in opening the swimming pool and leisure centre for members and the general public, said: “The major job was the roof of the pool and the majority of that work was done by locals, builders and staff members of the leisure centre. It has mostly been completed over the last couple of weekends and some late nights, with people working on until the early hours. “I have never seen a community work so much and put so much effort in for something. I do not think it has happened ever before in Baltimore, at least of this magnitude.
“The feeling of goodwill was tremendous and you could not but be overwhelmed by it. It was a breath of fresh air to come down here after seeing the daily news and the general doom and gloom and then come in and see all this work being achieved by people pulling together.
“If we could replicate this throughout the country, we would surely pull ourselves out of this depression. It was really special.” commented Mr. Kearney.
“The staff, both fulltime and part-time, are brilliant. They came down off their own backs and in their own time to do the work. We have three full-time staff, Yvonne Buckley, Carrie Holland and Elaine Deasy, and nine part-time staff. So we are up and running and open for business.
“It’s back to normal for swimming lessons and all the usual classes will be ongoing. There is already a heavy interest in children’s swimming lessons, and we are currently taking bookings for adult swimming lessons.”
Presently public sessions at Baltimore Community Leisure Centre are on Monday nights from 9 to 9.45 p.m. and on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to midday and from 4 to 5 p.m. Aqua aerobic classes are held on Wednesdays from 7.30 to 8.15 p.m. and on Thursdays from 10.30 to 11.15 a.m. “The standard of the pool is absolutely spotless and it is the nicest I have ever seen it. Thanks to all the members who supported us to get our minimum number of 200 memberships, this leisure centre is there for the members and the public at large. In the climate we are in, it is brilliant to have this facility kept in the community.” concluded Mr. Kearney.
Following closure of the pool in January, a series of public meetings was called. There was huge local support to have the leisure centre kept open and following negotiations with the current owners, a two-year lease agreement was put in place.
A company has been set up and a community group and management committee set up from the initial two hundred stakeholders who will have a direct input and say into the future running of the facilities. Updated information on events in the leisure centre, together with regular financial reports will be circulated to the two hundred stakeholders by e-mail.
Meanwhile, other works are planned to continue to improve Baltimore Community Leisure Centre over the coming months and, for information about opening hours, membership and classes, one may contact 028-20622.
Author: Carol Gilbert