Wirral Council’s decision to expand a Birkenhead gym at the expense of a ‘unique’ swimming pool has been slammed by a local councillor.
The fun pool at Europa Pools has been closed since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
This summer, council officers overruled a move by councillors to reopen it temporarily over the school holidays, saying rising Covid-19 case numbers at the time meant it was not safe on public health grounds.
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Now, the council has chosen to expand the gym at Europa by creating a new ground floor facility on the fun pool.
Cllr Stuart Kelly, a Liberal Democrat, slated last summer’s decision and was also unhappy with the gym plan.
The Oxton councillor thought the gym’s expansion was “not needed”, especially as it was being put in place of a swimming pool which was “unique” in the borough, with its wave machine and slides.
He added: “There are plenty of fitness gyms throughout the Wirral but there was only one fun pool specifically aimed at kids, the fun pool was profitable during holiday periods and I hope that the pool can be restored for next summer’s school holidays.”
The new gym facility is set to open tomorrow, with the existing fitness suite upstairs to be used for a wider variety of exercise classes when it is safe for the centre to accommodate larger groups.
Conservative councillor Helen Cameron, chair of the tourism and leisure committee, said: “This is a really imaginative use of the space at Europa.
“While it is disappointing we have not been able to reopen the leisure pool at sufficient capacity for it to be financially viable, adapting the area to accommodate much-needed additional gym equipment is a really innovative idea and credit goes to the staff who suggested it – and for making this happen so quickly.”
The enhanced gym will feature more than 60 pieces of equipment, including some new ones not previously available at Europa, such as a gym sled track.
The popular café at Europa is also set to reopen next week and swimming facilities remain open in the competition pool for adult and family swimming sessions.
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