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Letters to Editors

2012.05.14   Management of public swimming pools

South China Morning Post
The Editor

Dear Sir/Madam,

I refer to the article by Christine Loh (“Lane Change”, A17, May 4) and would like to respond to Ms Loh’s views on public swimming pools managed by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD).

LCSD manages 41 public swimming pool complexes. In 2011, the total attendance at public swimming pools was about 9.5 million, comprising 7.5 million individual users and 2 million group users.

To cater for both recreational and sport training needs of our pool users, we adopt a policy of designating lanes in the 50M main pools for various types of users – usually four lanes for group training, one to two lanes for individual to do lap-swimming, and the remaining pool area (covering four to five lanes) for use by casual swimmers. We keep the above arrangements under constant review, taking into account the views of different types of users. For instance, given that many users of the new Sun Yat Sen Memorial Park Swimming Pool are advanced swimmers, we have set aside one more lane at the 50M main pool for lap swimming starting from March this year.

Public swimming pools are normally open three sessions from 6.30am to 10pm daily, with two one-hour session breaks in between, during which the pool staff carry out cleansing work at the pools, changing rooms and other ancillary facilities. During the two one-hour breaks, we allow group users such as National Sports Associations (NSAs), swimming clubs and schools to book lanes for training athletes.

The use of swimming aids such as floats, paddles and kickboards are allowed in the secondary and training pools. They are also allowed in the hired lanes of the main pool under the supervision of swimming coaches.  However, to allow beginners to use swimming aids in the main pools without supervision will encourage them to swim in deep water, thereby giving rise to safety concerns. The swimming aids may also cause disturbance to the more serious swimmers.

To minimize wastage of public resources, we require a minimum of eight swimmers to use a hired lane in a 50M pool. Following our recent discussions with the NSAs and swimming associations, we plan adjust the minimum requirement downwards to six in the near future.

To maintain the hygiene of our swimming pools, all pool users are required to rinse in a shower and foot bath before entering into the pool deck area. It would be inadvisable for LCSD to exempt a certain group of people (e.g. coaches) from this requirement lest it will compromise the hygiene standard of the pool/pool water and hence the health of swimmers.

Yours faithfully,

Miss Margrit Li Lai-fan
Assistant Director (Leisure Services)
Leisure and Cultural Services Department

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