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Push to keep hydrotherapy pools afloat


The future of the Valentine Hydrotherapy and Swim Centre is in doubt after more than 50 years of operation.

Valentine Hydrotherapy Pools Inc Secretary John McGrath says the cost of maintaining the pools has become too much and believes Lake Macquarie City Council will need to take over the facility.

“After 54 years of operation, run by a charity, the expenses have got to a level that can no longer be sustained,” he says.

“We can handle day-to-day operations but it’s the bigger stuff that we can no longer maintain. 

“We approached the council to take over the pool 18 months ago and, on 14 April, they will vote on a proposal to take over the running of this facility.”

Mr McGrath is concerned the vote will lead to a rejection.

A council spokesperson says it has been working with the charity’s committee to try and reduce operating costs.

“The council has been working with the committee of Valentine Hydrotherapy Pools Inc since 2017 in an effort to reduce the operating costs of the pool, as well as investigating opportunities to gain funding to assist in making some repairs and improvements to the facility,” the spokesperson says.

“More recently, the committee has made it clear to the council that they do not see their management model being sustainable and have requested council to investigate the incorporation of the Valentine Hydrotherapy pool into its network of council-managed swim centres.”  

Mr McGrath adds that, while they have enough funds to get through the next six months, if council rejects the proposal, the pool will permanently close.

“Closure would be a catastrophic loss to the community,” he says.

“We’ve got over 800 hydrotherapy patients who rely on the service and hundreds of children who attend swimming lessons.

“We’ve got approximately 119,000 visitations per year.

“It caters to a whole lot of people in terms of injuries that need therapy and people who need lessons.

“Paralympians train at the pool on Tuesdays and Thursdays and young children who have been referred to us from John Hunter Hospital also receive treatment.”

Valentine Hydrotherapy Pools Inc is asking the community for help.

If you will be affected by the closure or want to support the charity, email [email protected] and your message will be passed onto Lake Macquarie City Council.  

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