Public swimming pool improvements completed

PUBLISHED : Friday, 07 April, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 07 April, 2006, 12:00am

Updated at 7.39pm:
The Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) said on Friday it would strengthen efforts in the new swimming season to appeal for public co-operation in keeping pools clean and hygienic.

This follows improvement works at public swimming pools during winter.

A spokesman said the department would launch the Swimming Pool Hygiene Charter. This was targeted at children to enhance cleanliness of public pools.

'With the aid of popular cartoon characters, children, teenagers, their parents and coaches are asked to work together to keep the pools clean,' the spokesman explained.

He said the Community Sports Committee (CSC), who visited Ma On Shan Swimming Pool on Friday, were satisfied with improvement works carried out over winter. These aimed at improving hygiene and customer services.

The improvements include doors installed or shower curtains lengthened at cubicles for better privacy. Hooks and racks were installed for swimmers' convenience.

The spokesman said the CSC also noted that Water Safety Ambassadors visited primary schools in winter. They did this to teach children water safety and the need for hygiene in the water.

He said the department had arranged for schools to visit swimming pools.

'Through the visits, students learned the importance of keeping pools clean and how other swimmers would be affected if the water was soiled,' he said.

The spokesman also said some 450 seasonal lifeguards had gone into service this season in addition to 800 permanent lifeguards.

'All seasonal lifeguards have attained the Pool Lifeguard Award/Beach Lifeguard Award issued by the Hong Kong Life Saving Society,' he said.

More than 80 per cent of the seasonal lifeguards had worked with the LCSD in previous swimming seasons. Both seasonal lifeguards and permanent/full-year contract lifeguards had the same entry requirements.

Speaking after the visit, CSC Chau How-chen said the measures would help provide safe, hygienic pools.

'Apart from the effort made by the LCSD, public co-operation is also vital in keeping public swimming pools clean and hygienic,' Mr Chau said.

Last year, some public swimming pools in the territory had to be closed for days after traces of bloodworms and human faeces were discovered in pool water.

This sparked public concern and disrupted regular swimmers.

Other than hygiene problems, services at some pools last summer were also disrupted by lifeguards' strikes. About 100 went on strike in protest over a government decision to contract out management work at a new swimming pool and sports centre.

The protesting lifeguards were concerned outsourcing plans would make them lose jobs and worsen the quality of lifesaving.