The Newlands swimming pool in Cape Town is finally set to reopen next month, after four years, just in time for Capetonians to enjoy the last of the hot summer days.
The pool was closed to the public back in 2017 as it underwent a major revamp and upgrade, which cost the City a whopping R22 million – more than double what was initially budgeted.
Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services and Health Patricia van der Ross said that the increase in funds was due to the complexity of the existing infrastructure, the age of the swimming pool, and its heritage significance.
The pool is older than 60 years, and this was the first major revamp and upgrade to the facility and swimming pool the City embarked on. Underground conditions were worse than anticipated; thus, additional unforeseen work had to be embarked upon which forced the extension of the project
The revamp of the facility had to be done in three stages due to the extent of its repair work.
Phase 1: Repair of the filtration pipes, removal of old walls for new tiling inside the pools, paving of pool decks and waterproofing of all structural and expansion joints as well as the pool basin.
Phase 2: Upgrades of the electrical reticulation system.
Phase 3: Grandstand, plant room, and existing upgrades around grandstand upgrades.
The phases started at various intervals during the project and are currently on track.
“The defects liability period for technical glitches are still to be effected before regulatory authorities can assess and provide compliancy sign off for the facility to be opened to the public,” said Van der Ross.
“Due to the many infrastructural challenges in the filtration plant room area, old asbestos pipes and infrastructure had to also be replaced.”
She added that the upgrading of the plant room was expected to be completed on 28 February.
“After that, certain operational and Occupational Health and Safety matters need to be implemented to ensure the facility is compliant and safe before opening to the public.”
According to the City, once the facility was deemed compliant, the anticipated opening date was scheduled for next month.
Newlands ward councillor Mikhail Manuel told News24 that the pool would be handed over to the operational teams on Monday.
Manuel said:After that, there will be a two-week period of testing to make sure that the facilities meet all safety standards before opening to members of the public.
Manuel said residents of Newlands have been regularly checking up on the progress of the pool repairs.
“I have been liaising with the residents of the area via email, phone calls, and WhatsApp to keep them up to date. I undertook a site visit a few weeks back and distributed a video update,” said Manuel.
So far, the entire pool basin has had structural deficiencies and was unsafe. A structural engineering report revealed the extent of the damages, which formed the basis of the extent of the work embarked upon.
“Due to the age of the pool and numerous leaks that have occurred over time due to ageing infrastructure, the pool was losing huge amounts of water, and at the time of the drought, the pool could not open as potable water at the time was valuable,” said the City.
Checks would be done before the pool reopened in order to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone.
“Once all major repairs are completed, and the facility is deemed compliant. The official opening date will be communicated,” said Van der Ross.