Fight to keep pool afloat

☐ Bankstown MP Tania Mihailuk and Councillor Alex Kuskoff joined residents calling on the council to keep open the Wran Leisure Centre at Villawood.

RESIDENTS are fighting back against the proposed closure of the Wran Leisure Centre at Villawood.

State MP for Bankstown, Tania Mihailuk, joined residents to call on Canterbury-Bankstown Council to reconsider the closure which was recommended in last year’s Leisure and Aquatic Strategic Plan.

Ms Mihailuk said the facility had been “largely neglected in recent years”, adding that it once boasted a variety of activities which could be revitalised to better serve the community.

Villawood resident Carol Fulton says she’s looked at the statistics of how many people pass through the door of the centre and feels the figures released in the November 2018 Leisure and Aquatic Strategic Plan were misleading. “I found that per minute of trading, 11 people visited the Wran Leisure Centre over 2015/16,” she said.
“To put this in perspective, 4.7 people visited Greenacre (currently closed), 2.2 visited Canterbury, 1.8 visited Max Parker in Revesby, and 1.7 visited Roselands and 1.3 visited Birrong.”

Sefton resident Ngy Bui says his son, who has autism, hasn’t been able to use other swimming pools due to overcrowding and noise at other swimming pools. “They also do not offer the one-to-one swimming classes that he needs,” Mr Bui said.
“If the Wran Leisure Centre is closed, we will have nowhere else to go.”

She said despite restricted trading hours, it has a high attendance rate and is located within a community that is over-represented by residents residing in social, community and subsidised housing who may not have access to private transport.

“Wran Leisure Centre serves a diverse population of communities including many living with disabilities, a number of whom are from marginalised communities,” Ms Mihailuk said.

“The closure of the centre would result in closing down access to the only local pool for these residents.”

Also opposing the closure plan, and arguing that the facilities should instead be upgraded, Councillor Alex Kuskoff says the Centre supports “many women, the elderly and less abled swimmers”.

“Our community was told that the amalgamation of the Bankstown-Canterbury Councils would result in better outcomes for residents and community organisations,” he said.

A council spokesperson said they were reviewing “all feedback by residents to the Draft Plan”.

“This is expected to be completed soon,” she said.