City Swimming Baths to reopen fully in January

Derry City and Strabane District Council has unveiled plans to reopen the City Swimming Baths in January next year.
The City Swimming Baths at William Street. (2104MMwilliamstreet)The City Swimming Baths at William Street. (2104MMwilliamstreet)
The City Swimming Baths at William Street. (2104MMwilliamstreet)

Foyleside People Before Profit District Councillor Shaun Harkin enquired about a prospective reopening date at a Full Council Meeting on Wednesday, November 22, following a recent walkaround of the newly-refurbished Baths by Councillors.

The Baths were closed at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, and were scheduled to reopen this September.

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“I saw many members putting up great pictures of the baths and it looked fantastic,” Colr. Harkin said. “The refurbishment seems to have gone very well.

“Do we have a definite date [of opening] yet? Because that has raised expectations that doors will be open.”

Mayor Patricia Logue attended the walkabout and commended the Baths as ‘brilliant’, but said there was no concrete opening date yet as clear water tests were still required.

The Council’s Director of Health and Communities, Karen McFarland, said a full opening was planned for January next year, and asked for Councillors and the public to be ‘patient for a little further period’.

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“We anticipated a soft opening in December, so we will take a review position on Friday and staff training has been advanced.

“Assuming we can resolve final technical issues, we’ll send invitations to user groups and some schools before Christmas, but it’ll be January before we have full programming.

“As soon as we have groups there, we’re happy to have an introductory session for Council members as well.”

Colr. Harkin concluded: “We did say we were going to reopen at the end of the summer and I think we raised expectations, because I had a lot of people asking ‘is this really going to happen’ and it hasn’t.

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“Karen is saying ‘January’, and some things are out of our control, but I think we have built expectations because people are following these discussions.

“So I would urge that, if we’re now saying it’s January, that we have to try and make that happen. The sooner it gets open, the better,” said the Foyleside People Before Profit councillor.

Andrew Balfour,

Local Democracy reporter.