Refurbished community swimming pools by March


REVIEW...Members of the TT Coast Guard conduct a fitness program during the opening of the Maloney Community Pool on October 2, 2022 as Prime Minister Dr.  Keith Rowley and other cabinet members look on.  -Ayanna Kisnale
REVIEW…Members of the TT Coast Guard conduct a fitness program during the opening of the Maloney Community Pool on October 2, 2022 as Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley and other cabinet members look on. -Ayanna Kisnale


For the past four years, citizens across TT have had a desire to gain access to their community pools, for either competitive or recreational swimming. However, many pool facilities in the country have deteriorated due to mismanagement and lack of maintenance.

Now people can look forward to something positive as Assistant Secretary of State for Sports and Community Development Beverly Reid-Samuel announced that community pools across the country will be renovated and reopened by the end of March.

Reid-Samuel addressed Parliament on Wednesday afternoon, in the presence of several sports executives, and briefed Members on the Department’s plans for the community pools. She said: “The Ministry (of Sport) continues to build human capital through the development of sporting talent and community life in TT.

“It fulfilled that mandate through the work of its core departments and units: the Department of Physical Education and Sport, the Department of Community Development, the Prime Minister’s Best Village Department and the Department of Community Mediation Services.

“As part of the Department’s mandate, we ensure that citizens, communities and other stakeholders have access to quality venues for sporting, social and recreational activities across TT.”

The deputy secretary of state continued: “The ministry manages several sports facilities, including the municipal swimming pools. There are nine municipal swimming pools under the Ministry’s jurisdiction and a tenth is in the design phase.

“Recreational and instructional swimming and aqua aerobics are offered at the pools. Through a strategic partnership with the TT Defense Force, a robust program of activities is offered at the Maloney, Laventille and Morvant community pools (the Cocoyea pool recently reopened on January 9th).

“Currently the pools of Couva, Siparia, Sangre Grande, Diego Martin and La Horquetta are being renovated. The Siparia, Diego Martin and La Horquetta swimming pools are expected to reopen by the end of March.”

Reid-Samuel then enlightened members on the incremental improvements to the facilities, explaining that the renovations were being carried out in phases.

“We have completed phases one and two in a number of pools and are now in phase three for the La Horquetta, Diego Martin and Siparia pools. For these pools there is a work plan for a third phase. However, we are currently hiring a consultant for the Couva swimming pool to assess its structural integrity.”

The Department of Sport’s technical director, Wilfred Fullerton, complemented the assistant secretary’s remarks on the Couva community pool and provided further insight into its development.

“Regarding the Couva pool, the structural evaluation was carried out by the Sport Company of Trinidad and Tobago a few years ago and it required further evaluation. They invited the Ministry of Works and Transport to take on this task.

“The report indicated that a more detailed assessment by a more experienced structural engineer needs to be carried out at this point. With this information we undertook the process of a static assessment by a suitably qualified company for the Couva pool. The process is almost complete and we expect to have a report in a month to determine the exact procedure for the refurbishment or replacement of the Couva pool.”

Reid-Samuel continued her address by explaining that the third phase of development will begin in March and that work at this phase will not affect the pools as they are peripheral.

Also highlighted was the community pool Diego Martin. In phase three, the pavilion, tea kitchen, CCTV installation, parking lot paving, (installation) of barbed wire, renovation of the security cabin, painting of the administration building and replacement will be renovated.

She said: “Right now we have quite a few vacancies in the physical education department of physical education. In particular, swimming instructors and lifeguards. However, we have started the recruitment process and hope it will be completed quickly. The other three pools that would come on board in March would require additional staffing alongside existing staff.”

“We also have a public poll of what the community would like to see in terms of the hours and the days (to open) in the pools. So far people are saying they want the pools to be open later and on Saturdays and Sundays.

“With the current staff we cannot provide these services at weekends, that is the challenge we face. The other challenge we have is getting the release receipts in a timely manner. (To resolve this issue) we have been in discussions with the Treasury Department and are working to improve the efficiency of our clearance requests and processing.

“The preventive maintenance plan is (also) implemented and we haven’t had any problems since it was introduced. There are ministry project management staff and in the pools we also have staff enforcing the plans – and we haven’t had any problems or challenges. However, there are a few areas where we still need to source certain commodities to run the spas efficiently, but we’re on the right track there too.”

She concluded her remarks by saying, “The Department of Sport and Community Development remains committed to promoting full participation in sport and the development of athletic talent as we use sport as an engine for community development.”

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