Pool closing hours making waves

PUBLISHED : Monday, 28 May, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 28 May, 2012, 12:00am


Residents and district councillors are calling for a change of public swimming pools' closing hours, as some find their doors are always shut at the times they want to swim.

All 41 pools managed by the government are open for swimming in three sessions during the day, with two one-hour breaks. They are closed from noon to 1pm, and then from 5pm to 7.30pm, for 'necessary cleaning'. They are also closed one day a week for more thorough cleaning.

Chan Wai-keung, an independent district councillor for Yau Tsim Mong, said the council had received complaints that the pools were closed when people most wanted to swim. There are two public pools in the district, in Kowloon Park and Tai Kok Tsui. Both close between noon and 1pm, and from 5pm to 6pm.

'I am a regular swimmer myself, and I find it frustrating that they are closed during those periods,' Chan said. 'Many want to take time out during their lunch break and after work to do some exercise.'

Chan suggested the breaks be moved to 10am-11am and 3pm-4pm. Hui Chi-fung, a Central and Western district councillor from the Democratic Party, also said residents had told him they found it inconvenient that they could not swim in the two pools in the district during the afternoon break and from 5pm to 6pm.

'If technically possible, the afternoon break should be scrapped, or at least shortened,' he said, adding that district councillors had been involved in managing pools since 2007, but the government had the final say.

Cheng Ki-kin of the Wan Chai district council said he had not noticed the problem. 'If the breaks are rearranged, some other people are going to be unhappy,' he said.

Infectious diseases expert Dr Lo Wing-lok said it would be risky to reduce the cleaning time. 'If the cleaning isn't done carefully, hundreds or even thousands of people would be infected,' he said. 'The government is only doing the minimum now.'

A Leisure and Cultural Services Department spokeswoman said moving the breaks might cause inconvenience for those who train after school or who want to swim after work and before dinner.