Outdoor pool open

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STONEHAVEN’S outdoor pool finally opened its doors for the summer last weekend following weeks of delays.

The pool was due to open for the season on May 28, but Aberdeenshire Council were forced to keep the pool closed after trace levels of hydrocarbons (mainly found in crude oil) were found in the water.

The setback saw the outdoor pool delay its opening for the first time in it’s 72 year history.

The pool remained shut for several weeks while experts worked alongside volunteers to determine the cause of the contamination and eradicate it.

Volunteers from the Friends of the Pool set to work to drain and refill the pool with fresh sea water, however after the first attempt traces of hydrocarbons were still present.

The pool has now been declared safe and free of contamination, and the season’s first visitors were welcomed last Friday.

Friends of the Pool chair Mike Robins said: “It’s been a real trial and to start with it was so bitterly disappointing that we couldn’t open on time. The pool has always been so consistent and I think that’s why everybody was so shocked. At all times we worked closely with Aberdeenshire Council and everyone worked hard to get the problems sorted.

“Thankfully the water has now been declared clean and safe and we have been able to open before the start of the school holidays, which we are delighted about.

“We opened at 1pm last Friday, and within five minutes there were 30 people in the pool, it was fantastic.”

But Mr Robins added that there is a lot to be done to make up for lost time. He said: “We have lost about a third of the season, so there is an awful lot of making up to do.

“If it wasn’t for the community getting behind us the pool wouldn’t even be here, so I am hoping the community gets behind us this season and helps us to boost our numbers to make up for lost time. If you usually come once a week, come twice! We want to see people coming in their droves.”

The delay in opening means that season ticket prices have been slashed for the summer, with adults tickets at £100, junior and concessions at £60, families at £260 and those who want to come after 5pm can get a season ticket for £55. Day tickets have remained at the 2010 prices.

A special event to celebrate the opening will be held this Sunday, July 3 from 2pm. “With the good news coming very suddenly that the Pool could at last open, we obviously have not had much time yet to organise the celebration,” said Mike. “All we can say so far is that it will be an afternoon of fun and music and we’d ask people to keep an eye on our website or Facebook page to find out more – or just to come along and enjoy!”

Mr Robins added that the opening times of the outdoor pool have been altered to try and accommodate swimmers who usually use the indoor pool, which has been closed for the summer as part of Aberdeenshire Council’s budget cuts.

The pool will open at 6.30am on Tuesdays and Fridays as of next week, and remain open until 7.30pm from next week. “With the indoor pool closing during our Pool’s peak season, we are hoping to attract many more local people to try swimming al fresco,” added Mike.