Residents Petition for Lane Availability at Lane Cove 50m Outdoor Pool

The Lane Cove 50m Outdoor Pool will re-open on 3rd October 2020.  Ian Thorpe will be the special guest at the opening.

The Lane Cove Aquatic Centre is home to the Lane Cove Swimming Club and a few other training squads.  Bluefit, who manage the centre, also conduct a swim school.  This has in the past meant that during peak periods, public lap swimmers have not been able to access lanes.

It will be interesting to see the demand for the pool in COVID19 times.  However, demand might be more due to the North Sydney pool closing for redevelopment.

The Lane Cove September Council meeting will be held on Monday 21st September 2020. Lane Cove Council has received a petition with 358 signatures calling for a minimum of 4 x 50 metre public lap swimming lanes to be always available, except when there are School Carnivals and Saturday Morning Swim Club. The head petitioner cites the fact that other ‘nearby council pools provide greater access for public lap swimming’.

The petition calls for “A minimum of 4 public lap swimming lanes that are 50 m at all times, excluding when there is Saturday morning Swimming Club and School Carnivals.”

The Lane Cove Council officer’s brefiing paper attached to the September agenda paper notes:

“Lane Cove Council will open its new 50-metre outdoor pool from 3 October 2020.  In line with Council’s other sporting and recreational facilities it is expected that the new pool will be heavily used by all members of the Lane Cove community – including families for fun swimming; lap swimmers, schools for carnivals and for learn to swim activities, the Lane Cove Swim Club and its squads.  As with most of our facilities they are used in the majority by Lane Cove residents and ratepayers who all pay to access the facilities.

One of the issues that the pool (indoor and outdoor) has always had is managing the competing demands for use.  This demand – pre COVID 19 was exacerbated by the closure of the outdoor pool in December 2018 and the pressure that this has placed on the indoor pool.

The pools at Lane Cove have become increasingly busy, with usage of just under 600,000 in 2010 to 724,394 in 2019 pre-COVID and the closure of the outdoor pool.

One of the critical factors in the use of the pools is that many swimmers want to use the pools at the same peak times – 5.30 am to 8.30 in the morning and then 3.30 to 6.00pm in the evening.  This is the time that lap swimmers wish to swim before or after work and this is also the time that the squads also train before and after school hours.

The petition while having 358 “local swimmers” as noted in the letter accompanying the petition has a significant number of non-Lane Cove people as signatories. Signatories come not only from greater Sydney but also from interstate.”

What Happens At Other Pools?

Each pool across Sydney has their own way of allocating lanes – some of which will be on a historical basis and some are operational.  Drummoyne for example doesn’t have any 50 metre lap swimming in the afternoons, but rather 25 metre lap swimming and the rest of the pool is used for water polo.  This also means that they have a smaller squad overall as the squad cannot train in the afternoon relieving the pressure on the lanes.

Leichhardt has more lap swimming lanes available as they have a diving pool which they also use for squads.

Pymble has a 6 lane 50 metre pool, with three lanes for squads and three for recreational swimmers.

Lane Cove Council Recommendation

All community sporting and recreational facilities need to manage/balance the needs of its community. The Lane Cove Aquatic Leisure Centre is no different to other entities.

The introduction of a new or newly replaced facility allows Lane Cove Council the opportunity to review and rethink the existing arrangements.  COVID-19 has also changed the ways in which the facilities and services are accessed..

Discussions have been held with Bluefit as to the best way forward with the lap swimming lane allocation, especially in these changing times.

The Lane Cove Council Officers are recommending:

That Council:

1.   Requests Bluefit to introduce a booking system for the 50m outdoor pool in the periods – Monday to Friday 5.30 am – 8.30 am and also in the afternoon 3.30 pm – 6.00 pm.

2.   Requests Bluefit to set aside three lanes in the 50m pool for lap swimming, with the remaining lanes to be demand managed in order to provide additional capacity for lap swimming when available.

3.   A further report be submitted to Council after the end of the Summer swimming season to ascertain if any further changes are to be made.

If the lanes are not full, Bluefit will allow non-booked people to swim in the appropriate lane. They will also demand manage additional lane allocation to balance between Squads and lap swimmers on a daily basis, providing additional capacity for lap swimmers when available.

The booking system will allow Lane Cove Council and Bluefit to monitor the use of the pool and also determine what lane capability there should be going forward.

There would be no booking system in place at other times unless this becomes necessary. Bluefit currently count how many people are using the lane/s which will continue in the future.

An issue of concern would be if four lanes were provided but not used to capacity it will be very difficult to remove the fourth lane, it will be easier to add an additional lane or an additional lane in some timeslots if required.

The booking would be initially for 45 minutes – with the time to be reviewed on regular basis.

The introduction of a booking system for the 50 metre outdoor pool will not only provide lap swimmers with certainty about lane availability – but will also allow Bluefit do demand manage the remaining capacity in the pool and evaluate the use of the new pool.  This over time will allow for changes if required to the way that the lanes operate and will ensure flexibility going forward for all.

Usage patterns do change over time so a need for regular review in line with demand. This review would be carried out by Council in conjunction with Bluefit based on actual data of usage reported.

Have Your Say

You may agree or disagree with the above recommendation.  If you would like to make a submission about this issue you can address the Lane Cove Councillors before the Meeting to held on Monday,  21 September 2020.

To comply with the directives of the NSW Government and in the interests of public health the  meeting will be conducted online.   Members of the public will not be permitted to attend the Council Chambers. Councillors are also not permitted to attend in person and will be participating in the meeting via video conference.

Council is currently trialling the use of video conferencing for the Public Forum by using the online meeting platform, Zoom.    A link to the video conference, which will include all Councillors attending the online Council meeting, will be made available by email for community members to participate.

All speakers wishing to participate in the public forum must register by using the online form no later than midnight, 20 September 2020.   A Zoom meeting link will be emailed to the provided email address.

The time limit of three minutes per address still applies so please make sure your submission meets this criteria. Alternatively, members of the public can still submit their written address via email to [email protected].

Written addresses are to be received by Council no later than midnight, on the day prior to the meeting. (500 words maximum).  The meetings will continue to be live-streamed. Ordinary Council Meetings will be viewable via the webcasting page on this website.

Opening Ceremony Lane Cove Pool

Lane Cove Council will be throwing a morning ceremony on Saturday, October 3rd from 10am – 12pm with a visit from special guest, Ian Thorpe! Due to COVID restrictions, this ceremony is by invitation only, however you can then dive into the new outdoor pool from 12:30pm onwards using the booking system below.

To avoid over-crowding Bluefit will have a booking system in place for the first three days. From Saturday 3rd October – Monday, 5th October Bluefit will allow for 30 people per hour in the pool. To lock in your spot you can click here.

The weekend opening hours are the following:
Saturday: 12:30pm – 8pm
Sunday: 6am – 8pm
Monday: 8am – 6pm (Public Holiday)

The eight-lane, 50-metre pool provides a flexible setup with a state-of-the-art divider allowing the pool to operate in both 25 metre and 50-metre lengths. New change rooms are located underneath the impressive new grandstand along with on-deck showers. A new marshalling area complete with a hearing loop will help provide access to high-quality facilities for competitions and carnivals, with an 800 seat grandstand for those to sit and enjoy the action in the pool.

The pool and grandstand are fitted with the latest sustainability features including energy-efficient lighting, water and energy-saving filters, heaters and pumps while an array of solar panels are fitted to the grandstand and marshalling area roof.

An adult change facility and accessible toilet are located at the pool-deck level and there is a ramp into the pool for wheelchair access. A new artwork adorning the fence reflects the themes of water and movement and acknowledges how the traditional owners of the land – the Cameraygal people – engaged with Lane Cove’s waterways.

So save the date, as you won’t want to miss making a splash this spring in Lane Cove Aquatic Leisure Centre’s latest addition.

There will be a $3 booking fee (members and non-members), donated to the BlueFit Foundation and directed to access for sport for Lane Cove local community groups.

History of the Lane Cove Pool

If you are interested in reading about the Lane Cove Pool history click here.

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