TRAMORE Valley Park would be an ideal location for a 50-metre swimming pool as a UK twin city to Cork gets ready to build one of its own, it has been claimed.
The only 50-metre pool in Munster is based at the University of Limerick (UL) sports campus — more than 90 minutes drive from Cork city centre. There are two open to the public in Dublin.
Earlier this year, Cork City Council said there is no obvious funding mechanism for a 50-metre pool in the city and claimed existing local authority-owned pool facilities at Bishopstown, Churchfield and Douglas could be negatively affected if one was built.
Both UCC and CIT are progressing plans to update their sports facilities but there are no extensions to water-based facilities in either of the projects.
However, news that twin city to Cork, Coventry - a city of comparative size - is set to build a 50-metre pool has prompted calls to further investigate the possibility on Leeside.
Sandycove Swimmers club member and 50m pool campaigner Niall Kenny believes an Olympic standard pool would be a huge asset to the city and would serve the whole southern side of the country.
“Coventry reckons it can build its swimming pool for £32 million (€34.9m). I reckon there’s a Cork option to build it in the city under the Urban Regeneration Development Fund (URDF) at Tramore Valley Park,” said Mr Kenny.
“You can’t excavate down because it’s an old dump but there is a Dutch company that builds at ground level. Their pools have a shorter lifespan of 10 to 15 years rather than a regular pool.
“However, putting it at Tramore Valley Park would mean the whole city and county has access through the south link and the Dunkettle Interchange when that’s finished.
“The University of Limerick has built an extra 25-metre pool to serve its members as their 50-metre pool is constantly used.
“There would absolutely be a demand for a 50-metre pool in Cork because it would serve water polo, aqua aerobics, water hockey and a myriad of other sports that are currently being completely forgotten about.
“When people think of a 50-metre pool they are thinking of elite swimmer but there are so many other uses. All the swimming clubs in Cork have waiting lists of around 150-200 kids.
“There’s huge revenue to be made from toddler swimming lessons. There’s a population of around 200,000 people in Cork and it beggars belief that there isn't a 50-metre pool,” Mr Kenny added.
Tivoli docks and a site just off Albert Quay which has been purchased by O’Callaghan properties have also been mentioned as potential locations.
City Hall officials believe such a facility in Cork would require an annual subsidy of €1 million to run.