The Committee received a verbal update from the Superintendent providing Members with an update on swimming facilities. The following comments were made:
· The Superintendent advised that the swimming report was updated and recirculated following the Prime Minister’s update to incorporate new measures including social distancing protection for lifeguards. Members views were being sought regarding draft proposals developed to manage the four swimming facilities.
· It was noted that the Mixed Pond would be the most difficult to manage. Suggested safety measures included introduction of a one-way system, a restricted number of swimmers and no cash payments.
· The Chairman noted an email received from the Swimming Association chairmen circulated to Members in advance of the meeting and reiterated that the City Corporation’s priority was its duty of care to staff, lifeguards and the public.
· A Member (London Council for Recreation and Sport) highlighted that technology was a major criticism of the Swimming Review and felt that the lockdown had provided more time to invest in the necessary infrastructure at the swimming facilities. The Member requested a timescale of what changes were coming and when. The Superintendent stated that there were short and long-term plans in development. In the short-term, the existing platform would be used for online booking and payments and in the long-term contactless technology would be brought in to integrate wrist bands and lockers through an app. Different wrist bans would be provided to day users. It was noted that it was currently difficult to trial and test the new technology as site meetings with providers were not currently possible, but that progress was being made.
· In response to an observation from a Member (Representative of Clubs using facilities on the Heath) concerning an open water qualification, the Superintendent advised that this was required as per the Health and Safety Executive’s advice. Face-to-face assessments were not currently possible, but training was still ongoing.
· A Member (Representative of Clubs using facilities on the Heath) questioned why different sites were being treated differently and felt that there should be equity across all of the facilities, e.g. one hour swimming sessions. The Superintendent advised that discussions were ongoing with the Swimming Associations and it was clear that there was no one size fits all across the four facilities. A similar framework would be developed but different requirements for each would need to be addressed for each facility.
· With regards queries regarding sunbathing at the Lido, Members were advised that this was fine, but this would make up part of a swimmer’s allocated swim ticket slot. Users would not just be sunbathing.
· The Chairman concluded that there was still lots to do and this would take place in a phased approach.