A planning consultant is working alongside campaign group Community Pool for West Wicklow on an application for planning permission for a portable swimming pool in Blessington.
This week Swim Ireland unveiled one of its two portable 12 x 4 meter swimming pools, which will tour Ireland with the aim of making swimming accessible to everyone, especially in places where there is no has no swimming facilities at the moment.
The first has been installed in Donabate and it is expected that one of the pools will come to Blessington, most likely from September.
Deirdre McCormack, Community Pool Founder for West Wicklow, said: “We have a central location for the pool we are working on. Obviously, planning can be very complex, so we wanted to bring in an expert, such as a planning consultant or architect, so we could get it right the first time.
“A portable swimming pool has just arrived at the Donabate Portrane Community Center and we can’t wait to drop by to see it. The application must be submitted before the end of the month.
“We will soon be holding online information meetings with local schools to talk to them, especially as swimming is now part of their curriculum.
“We are very pleased to bring the portable swimming pool to Blessington and it also gives us the opportunity to demonstrate and highlight the very real need to provide swimming facilities here in West Wicklow.”
At the launch of the pop-up pool in Donabate, Junior Sports Minister Jack Chambers said: “Delivering new permanent pools can however be expensive and time-consuming and this new ‘pop-up’ installation offers an excellent solution in offering swimming opportunities. at a number of locations at relatively low cost.
More than 500,000 children have missed swimming lessons during the pandemic, according to Swim Ireland. With an average of 120 drownings per year in Ireland, he hopes to raise awareness of the importance of learning to swim.
“At Swim Ireland our vision is for an island of swimmers and we hope that by bringing the pop-up pool to people we can teach thousands of people to swim and give them the experience and opportunity to see swimming as a skill and something they can participate in at all stages of life,” said Sarah Keane, CEO of Swim Ireland.
The pool is heated to 30 degrees and is housed inside a marquee-like steel structure. Changing rooms are available on site, as well as a lift in the swimming pool for those who need it. The pool is fully inclusive and suitable for people with physical, sensory and learning disabilities.
In preparation for the launch of the pool, the Community Pool for West Wicklow group recently held its AGM, which was attended online by local councillors, TDs and their representatives.
“It gave us the opportunity to update everyone on our plans, as well as an update on the portable pool,” Deirdre said.
Several submissions supporting a swimming pool for West Wicklow have also been made as part of the County Wicklow 2022 to 2028 development plan.
“We’ve run a number of online workshops showing people how to submit a quote. Swim Ireland, Canoe Ireland and Water Rescue Ireland also made their own submissions, and it’s wonderful to have the support of three national organisations.
“Sports facilities and the need for a swimming pool in West Wicklow are all included in the development plan, which should help us achieve our goal.”
Members of the campaign committee will also participate in the VHI women’s mini marathon which will take place in June.
“The mini marathon is once again being held in person, so a number of committee members will be taking part.
“We would love it if people wanted to participate, but we understand that there are so many other causes, especially given the situation unfolding in Ukraine. People can also sponsor us.