The Gladstone indoor heated pool has dropped in temperature due to council-owned heaters breaking down. For the elderly who regularly use the pool it couldn't have come at a worse time.
The Gladstone indoor heated pool has dropped in temperature due to council-owned heaters breaking down. For the elderly who regularly use the pool it couldn't have come at a worse time. Paul Braven

Tempers heat up as indoor pool cools down

COOLER temperatures in Gladstone's indoor pool because of a broken water heater is affecting therapy lessons for the elderly and disabled.

A temperature drop of just three degrees is the difference between a full pool during therapy classes and an empty one.

As Gladstone Aquatic Therapy Service co-ordinator Leanne Stocker explains, the pool needs to be 30 degrees for mobility exercises to be beneficial.

The Gladstone pool has been 27 degrees for two months.

Clients and staff at the Sister Kenny memorial pool are disappointed that it's taken so long to replace a broken water heater.

Ms Stocker said many of her clients - including people who had recently had hip and knee replacements and spinal surgery - were refusing to swim and she was having to cancel lessons because of it.

The pool is relying purely on solar panels. By the weekend it'll be freezing (because of the dismal weather)," she said.

"They come from Ambrose, Tannum and beyond, with one quadriplegic lass that has to sit on the bed and wiggle to get the wetsuit on, just to rock up and find out its too cold. (That's) a massive effort."

Ms Stocker says the current heater is a hand-me-down.

"It was old to start with even before it was installed here," she said.

"Instead of spending $2.4 million on the kiosk and outdoor renovations, we would have loved it if they had built a (new) heated pool.

Human and social services coordinator Cheryl Barrett said Gladstone Regional Council was not prepared to do a temporary fix on the heater.

Instead, she said, the council had already deployed contractors to survey and locate a replacement heater.

The council has emptied and refilled the pool but Ms Barrett said it got cold quickly.

That was out of their hands, she said.

At 4pm on Friday when The Observer paper spoke to Ms Barrett for a second time, she said the council had found a five-heater unit model which should arrive in town in three weeks.

It will be a further two weeks after that before the unit is properly assembled and installed.

"We will hopefully have warm water in five weeks," Ms Barrett said.

Until then, aquatic therapy users will have to wear wetsuits.



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