With the approval to conduct a feasibility study, the Public Entity Saba has taken the next step in exploring the possibilities to construct a public swimming pool on Saba.
The Executive Council last month approved a proposal to contract the company Alite BV to conduct a feasibility study for a swimming pool on Saba. The feasibility study will commence in January 2023 and conclude in March 2023. The study will be funded by the Ministry of Public Health, Wellbeing and Sport (VWS).
Having a public swimming pool has long been a desire of the Public Entity Saba. The advantages of a swimming pool are many: it enables people to live a healthy lifestyle, it provides a source of rehabilitative care for injured persons, and it allows people to develop strong swimming skills enhancing their personal safety.
Considering the investment required to build a swimming pool, a comprehensive feasibility study is necessary to evaluate if a pool is realistic for Saba and if so, to determine the best characteristics for a pool on the island.
A small working group of the Public Entity Saba has looked at the proposal that it received from Alite BV, a consultant company that is familiar with Saba through its involvement in the school projects and which has experience with public swimming pools in St. Maarten. The working group had several meetings with Alite BV and it was concluded that the company was a good candidate to determine the feasibility of a pool on Saba.
Commissioner of Public Health and Sports Rolando Wilson welcomed the decision to have a feasibility study conducted. He noted that a swimming pool was listed in the 2022-2025 Sports Policy as one of the facilities that would benefit the further development of physical activity and sports on Saba.
“A swimming pool does not only fit in our efforts to promote a healthy lifestyle and to get the community engaged in physical exercise, but the ability to swim is also a necessary skill for safety, especially when living on an island. Having a swimming pool would also enable us to incorporate swimming lessons into the school curriculum so every child learns to swim,” Wilson stated.
May the persons doing the feasibility study consider the following two suggestions as partial possible solutions to look into for feasibility/usefulness:
1. An outdoor shallow rectangular pool (I have no clue if salt or fresh water will make the most sense to keep maintenance costs low) in the middle of the (sometimes too) hot and sunny paved public school grounds at St. Johns. The evaporating water will cool the surrounding air a bit between the classroom buildings and it will be eye candy to all there even if not swimming that day and bring the mood and pride up. The depth ought to be such that the feet of the primary school children can touch the bottom.
An indoor (too cold for outdoor half the year), shallow pool setup has worked extremely well for a primary school and the rest of the neighborhood in Hamburg, Germany for the past decades. https://www.schwimmschule-turmweg.de/index.html
When the public primary school is not in session the same pool is used to give, for a fee, swimming lessons to children and adults from the public by local swim instructors. With a shallow pool, it will be warm enough even in the rainy season. If there is interest in exploring this as a partial solution, I can get the exact measurements of the pool at the local public school in Hamburg Germany as a reference. Older people living in St. Johns could enjoy for a modest fee then this same pool when school is not in session and there is no for-pay official swimming class being conducted in the pool that hour.
There will be, though much-increased water usage due to people taking a quick rinse before hopping in the pool and rinse off the chlorine when getting out. If freshwater is expensive not sure if salt water is a possible alternative to reduce operational costs. The venue with the shallow pool could be occasionally rented out for evening outdoor parties due to the relatively-warm temperature of the shallow water.
In the rainy season, some find the pools at Tropics and El Momo too cold to be useful for more than eye candy, but a shallow pool would be much less cold, especially at that very sunny location, and thus actually usable even in the rainy season. Pre-school children would also be able to have fun floating around with swim noodles or using little kick boards in the pool when school is not in session. Primary school children will associate their school days with some of the best times of their lives.
2. Making adjustments to Cove Bay if needed to serve as a venue for formal swimming lessons as well as for its current use for swimming and splashing.