Mon | Nov 30, 2020

‘No more Band-Aid fixes’ - ASAJ seeks $2 million to fix Aquatic Centre pool pump

Published:Tuesday | November 3, 2020 | 10:41 AMDaniel Wheeler/Gleaner Writer
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Aquatic Sports Association of Jamaica (ASAJ) President Martin Lyn says that $2 million will be required to replace the pumping system for the 50m pool at the National Aquatic Centre (NAC).

The facility was reopened in August to clubs and national swimmers after closing in March because of the coronavirus pandemic. While training has resumed with strict health protocols, the pool required repairs to correct problems which started in its pumping system three weeks ago. Lyn says a gasket was damaged and had to be replaced at a cost of $300,000.

While Lyn says that ASAJ received support from the Sports Development Foundation (SDF) for the repairs, he stresses that an entire replacement of the system is necessary with additional assistance being requested from the body.

“We are looking at appealing to SDF to change the entire pumping system because when we keep doing Band-Aid fixes like this, which is all we can afford, over time it will add up to replacing the whole pumping system,” Lyn told The Gleaner.

MAIN FOCUS

The the maintenance of the NAC with the additional health protocols instituted by the Ministry of Health & Wellness has put ASAJ under financial strain. With plans being proposed for a development meet soon, he says that his main focus is to ensure that the facility remains active for training to continue.

“We are trying to make sure that the pool is open,” he said. “We are chlorinating, and we are keeping it up to the Ministry of Health standards as well. That in effect is also taking a lot of financial toll on the federation. If we don’t focus on development meets, we must focus on keeping the pool open. That’s my focus, that’s the organisation’s focus.”

SDF General Manager Denzil Wilks confirmed that assistance was given to ASAJ on two occasions.

“I would assume that they will incorporate that particular assistance in their submission and, of course, that will ensure that it goes to the board, and ultimately to the Ministry of Sport, and Ministry of Finance,” Wilks said. “So that one hopes that we can provide the assistance.”

Wilks said that the request had to be included in ASAJ’s budgetary plans for the next fiscal year which were required to be submitted last week. The original deadline of September was extended by a month because of the pandemic. Lyn confirmed that the request was sent in before the deadline and Wilks says an approval decision could come by next March, the final month of the current fiscal year.

daniel.wheeler@gleanerjm.com