BY JACKIE KEOGH
THE opening of Dunmanway’s new €5.5m swimming pool today – after several months of a delay – has been welcomed as ‘an exciting turning point for the town.’
Local councillor Declan Hurley (Ind) said the public will be able to access the facility – which includes a 25-metre pool, a toddlers’ pool, a hydrotherapy pool, a steam room and a sauna – from today on.
The Dunmanway Municipal Swimming Pool project was first announced in January 2015, and the contract was awarded to MMD Construction in March 2015. The pool was scheduled to open in October 2016, but Mr Hurley said Cork County Council was not in a position to take over the facility until a snag list – relating to a number of small building issues – was finalised.
He said: ‘This was a detailed one-off project and it took longer to complete than was anticipated.’
Cllr Hurley said the new pool will be a huge boost for the local community, as well as a huge attraction to the town, and that it has created six full-time and six part-time jobs.
However, he said it was unfortunate that a dedicated space for a new gym on the first floor will not be fitted out until additional funding has been provided.
‘It is regrettable too,’ he added, ‘that a café was not included in the final design and build, because Dunmanway Municipal Swimming Pool will be an important social centre for the community.’
Cllr Hurley confirmed that plans for a new pool were first mooted 20 years ago and that many different designs and plans were prepared.
‘Initially, it was suggested that the original pool would be upgraded,’ he said, but a detailed engineer’s report, which was carried out in 2014, indicated that the old pool was structurally unsound and a decision was taken to build a new pool.’
The design for the new pool was carried out by Cork County Council architects with assistance from Joda Consulting Engineers.
Cllr Hurley confirmed that the first floor space for the proposed gym will be wheelchair accessible, because a lift has been installed, and that the old pool will be demolished to create additional parking.