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Belfast Pool to re-open next week

9 January 2008

Belfast Pool, closed only four days into the season late last year because of threatening behaviour by groups of youth visiting the facility, will re-open next Monday (14 January).

The Christchurch City Council, which owns and operates the pool, met today (9 January) with Police and the Belfast Community Network, the meeting resolving to re-open the facility with support from the community.

Council Recreation and Sports Manager John Filsell says lifeguards have been hired during the Christmas/New Year period to staff the pool, along with security to ensure the health and safety of all staff and patrons, and the local police and community have made a commitment to be involved with the operation of the pool for the remainder of the season.

"This is a great outcome for the community as it enables the pool to be re-opened."

Belfast Pool faced similar problems in the 2006/07 season with youths behaving in a threatening, intimidating and abusive manner. Council had met with the community before the start of the 07/08 season, the outcome of which was to hire extra and more senior lifeguards this season in an attempt to alleviate the issues. However, four days into the season staff resigned.

"Council regrets it had to close Belfast Pool and the community was unable to enjoy the facility during the traditional festive holiday season but health and safety of staff and patrons will always be our top priority," Mr Filsell says.

"In the future, youths exhibiting any form of threatening behaviour towards staff or patrons at Belfast Pool, or any of the five summer pools owned and operated by the Council, will be served trespass notices. These notices will apply at all Council leisure facilities for two years and be strictly enforced."

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