Concerns over our new community swimming pool

A local resident wrote to me on the above subject and I believe that their concerns deserve a wider airing.  I append the letter below:

I am sure many if you will have seen or sampled the new swimming pool in the new Community Campus. The whole place is a marvel of light and space and I hope that everyone, the pupils in particular, will enjoy and benefit from their new surroundings and the amazing facilities for the use and enjoyment of us all. It was planned for the advantage of the whole community.

I, too, was really looking forward to returning to swim regularly in our new pool, now that summer is gone and it is more difficult to get outside to keep fit. I have a bad back and arthritis, so non weight bearing exercise really helps to keep me limbered up.
However, I was dismayed to find that the pool and, more importantly, any one using it, is very much on display at all times. There are huge plate glass windows all along the corridor and on into the cafeteria which overlook the pool. There are no curtains or blinds of any kind to screen it off from anyone passing or sitting by the windows. It is the main access to the canteen so will be heavily used by everyone needing refreshments. I am no shrinking violet, but am very uncomfortable with the idea of (fully clothed) pupils passing regularly, their eyes naturally drawn to any activity in the pool. If I were slim and youthful I might enjoy to show off my “attributes” to all and sundry. As it is, I am over 70 years old and, sadly, “fings ain’t wot they used to be”!!
I think there are many who would agree that this is not conducive to a relaxing swim for some of us. I also think that some shyer, younger folks or people with physical disabilities, would prefer a less exposed swimming experience. I met with Donald Fraset, Senior Community Leisure Officer, for the Aberdeenshire Council, who I met for a discussion about this a few days ago. He agreed that your comments would be useful and he can be reached at : donald.fraser@aberdeenshire.gov.uk
Most people shy away from airing their views on this kind of thing and “vote with their feet”. I don’t want to wait for the penny to drop! I would prefer what I hope is a simple and easy way to solve the problem asap, and hopefully without huge expense. There are blinds on the windows of the secretaries’ office and in the Community Meeting Room. I am sure there are more else where on the campus.
I think the pool would be used much more frequently and by a wider variety of people if the swimming pool were fitted with electronically operated blinds to match those in other parts of the building. For a swimming gala, it would be excellent for the blinds to be up and out of the way so that as many people as possible can see the action clearly. On other occasions it would be great if we could use the pool in comfort, without the “goldfish bowl”/ voyeur situation to contend with. I can grit my teeth and endure the mixed showers and changing rooms but would really prefer to swim in a relaxed environment without feeling so exposed.

Let us have your comments – both for and against – and we can pass them on to the Community Council for discussion.
I also have received comments about the shared toilet facilities throughout the school from both parents and pupils – is this also a concern for parents and the wider community?

3 thoughts on “Concerns over our new community swimming pool

  1. Sue Gassaway

    Further to my letter yesterday…I have personally received many comments, by email and phone, on the subject of the pool and the campus in general. There are some very relevant points and most are NOT happy about the situation as it stands.

    Donald Fraser, who was dealing with the pool here, has just moved to a different position within the Aberdeenshire Council and will now be based in Peterhead. Comments should now be sent to the new incumbent, Gillian Wood: gillian.wood@aberdeenshire.gov.uk

    However, Donald called me this morning to say that decisions about the pool were all decided on months ago and the matter is now closed. I assured him that it was most certainly NOT closed and that there are many locals who will be very unhappy indeed if their concerns are not listened to or addressed.

    Two people suggested that I sent up a petition, and I might agree with that idea, but have not the skills and knowhow to do it!
    Petitions and arguments against Tax Credits made George Osborne change his mind and I hope we can do the same in this instance, rather than leave the local population disgruntled and unwilling to use the pool or the COMMUNITY Campus as a whole.

    Thank you, Sue Gassaway

  2. Anonymous

    Dear Swimmer

    Is the glass panels at the new swimming pool really any different to the previous viewing area at the old pool or indeed the Westhill or Inverurie pool. Granted, the previous building that housed the old pool was for the sole purpose of going for a swim and pupils would not usually enter the building unless going to swim, leaving the pool or general swimming enquiries. However, the size of the community campus seating area is not large and I’ve only ever seen one or two people sitting there having a coffee or reading.

    I drop my 6yr old son at the breakfast club on week day mornings in one of the community rooms next to the pool and he runs up to the viewing area with great excitement and loves to count how many people are swimming, then goes off to the breakfast club quite happy.

    I feel strongly enough to write a comment against the initial complaint you raised about the viewing area. I’m not sure why you think the community or pupils are bothered about who’s swimming, your age, what you look like etc.

    Personally I feel that my son seeing people enjoying exercise, covering a spectrum of age groups, shapes and sizes and fitness levels shows him that exercise is important at any age and that people are all different – which is a good thing. He loves swimming and certainly if he wanted to sit there and watch people swim for 10 mins or an hour I would encourage that. Therefore if you are not comfortable with the set up of the new pool, you might want to possibly consider a different swimming pool.

    Your comment regarding the use of blinds is a good enough one, and yes quite rightly they would be expected to be up when there’s a gala etc being held, possibly for you to watch??? Not really a difference is there?

    We need to move with the times and ensure that the next generation aren’t as prudish / don’t have the hang ups we have about our appearance and body image. Most modern public buildings in the UK and Europe such as gyms, airports etc have communal facilities. It might unsuitable for a minority, but generally does anyone really care?

    PS The library is very much a ‘goldfish bowl’ too but it’s a wonderful part of the complex.

    Respectfully
    L Mitchell

  3. Annonymous

    Yes Alford pool is very different from Inverurie and westhill! They do have glass panels for viewing BUT they are not part of a school. The Alford pool is seen by pupils eating lunch, at break times. This doesn’t happen in Inverurie or westhill. It was my first thought when I went to view the school, would I heck go during school times for children (especially academy children) watching me!!!