RUSSELL Island residents are calling for their community pool - which is closed on two week days and between 10am and 3pm on the other three - to be open longer hours.
Resident Alison Laing said a protest would be held outside the pool gates at 3.30pm on Thursday calling for an increase in the hours the facility is open to the public.
The Bay Islands Aquatic Centre - which opens from the September school holidays until the April school holidays - is owned by the Education Department which prioritises the use of the pool for educational purposes.
A council spokesperson said the pool could be opened to the public at other times and operated under an agreement between council and the department.
During the school term the pool is open to the public from 7am to 10am and 3pm to 6pm on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and closed on Tuesday and Thursday.
It is open from 10am to 5pm on the weekend.
Ms Laing said people wanted to swim between 10am and 3pm on week days, as well as the weekend, because it was the hottest part of the day.
"With the demographics of the island being mostly people who do not work, this just does not make sense," she said.
Ms Laing said the pool could provide a meeting place for residents since there were few options on the island.
An Education Department spokesperson said the pool was not a state government responsibility.
"... The management and upkeep of the pool is the responsibility of the council," the spokesperson said.
The council spokesperson said school holiday hours had been extended as the department did not require the pool.
"In the current season, council has trialled extending the school holiday hours, which are now 6.30am to 6.30pm, Monday to Sunday (84 hours per week)," the spokesperson said.
"This is an increase over the 69 hours that were in operation in the 2017-18 season.
"The trial has seen a minor increase in patronage and also an increase in labour and maintenance costs at the facility."
The spokesperson said council was monitoring the number of people using the pool for the rest of the season before deciding whether it could extend the hours of operation.
Ms Laing said the grass was sparse and weedy and infested with ants, and plants were in need of care and replanting.
She said staff from Redlands IndigiScapes Centre could assess what needed to be done to make the pool area more pleasant.
“New plants could be sourced through their nursery and planted by volunteers or perhaps school children under supervision,” Ms Laing said.
The council spokesperson said south-east Queensland had experience an extended period of drought-like conditions which had taken its toll on the grassed area and gardens.
"Council acknowledges the issues raised and will investigate a course of action to address the gardens and grassed areas and the issues surrounding the reported ant infestation," the spokesperson said.
The residents are also calling for a shop selling food, drinks and basic swimming items like goggles.
“At the minimum vending machines should be provided,” Ms Laing said.
A council report from 2013 states that council paid $930,000 and the state $110,000 to build the pool in 2007.
At that time the community was petitioning council to extend the operating season and opening hours of the pool.
The agreement between council and the department expires in April next year.
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