The heat is pressing and the residents of Orcasitas queue these days to take a dip in the only summer pool that has been open to the public since May 14 at the Municipal Sports Center, belonging to the Usera district. The other, larger pool is still under construction and is not expected to be in use for the entire season. And to the greater annoyance of the neighbors, a third pool, the San Fermín pool –also in Usera–, will delay its opening this summer.
But the surprise that the users of that unique Orcasitas pool have been has been verifying that the walls of the pool are suffering from chipping of the blue chlorinated rubber paint with which it was remodeled just the day before its opening. And so it has been denounced and documented by the Socialist Municipal Group after visiting the facilities. “This type of paint requires at least three days to dry, but they didn’t even leave 24 hours before filling it with water.” “The result is that the paint has been lifted and users come out with blue feet, like the Smurfs,” says the councilor responsible for Sports, Natalia Cera, ironically.
Jokes aside, Cera warns that the matter can lead to “a health problem, both for children if they ingest the particles that are released, and, of course, also environmental when it comes to the drain.” From the Municipal Socialist Group they do not understand that “due to the rush” of the City Council and more specifically the sports area managed by Citizens, this situation has been generated. For this reason they have spoken with the councilor and president of the district of Usera, Loreto Sordo, to see if they are going to take action. “The problem is that now they don’t know what to do, and they are hesitating between emptying it and filling it up again or putting in a beastly pool cleaner. They are evaluating not how to solve the issue, ”she anticipates.
The socialites do not understand “why this problem could not have been foreseen and the pool painted a month earlier”. After documenting the situation, they state that they alerted both the director of the facility and the District Board, whose technicians supervised this work, which was entrusted to the Ferrovial company. Now they are waiting to see what solution they propose. Despite these alleged risks, the pool is still open and “people are already bathing,” adds Cera.
From the Sports area directed by the Councilor for Citizens Sofía Miranda, they are surprised at the importance that the socialist opposition is giving to this issue: “They have put some rubber sheets on the floor from which some paint flake has come off” , clarify sources of this department.
In addition, they deny that this can generate the slightest danger for bathers. “There is no problem or danger to health, it is something very light and innocuous, and the company in charge has already reported that it can be fixed without the need to close the pool,” they conclude.
A rocky start to the season
The start of the summer season in Madrid’s municipal swimming pools took place on May 14, an unusual date but early due to the high temperatures that are being registered in the capital, where these days have exceeded 30 degrees. Although it tried, the City Council has not managed to arrive in time to have all its facilities available. Seven of them are still under construction and there were three more that did not arrive in time to condition them.
The consistory explained that the swimming pools of La Concepción (Ciudad Lineal), Santa Ana (Fuencarral-El Pardo), Vallecas (Puente de Vallecas) will delay their opening. In addition, other facilities such as Francos Rodríguez (in Moncloa although next to Tetuán), Ángel Nieto (Puente de Vallecas) or Vicente del Bosque (Fuencarral) will not open throughout the summer season due to renovations in their facilities. They represent almost a third of the 22 swimming pools that the Madrid City Council currently has.
As in previous years, the Madrid City Council maintains two shifts when accessing the swimming pools, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Tickets can be reserved in the Madrid Móvil application and on the town hall website and they cost 2.25 euros per turn.
More Madrid then regretted those delays. “It is incredible and intolerable that, despite having months to undertake the necessary refurbishment works, we find ourselves with closed facilities just when the summer pools open this weekend,” said Councilor Mar Barberán, who assured “that many families are left this year without the only respite they have within their reach, without the only space that, on many occasions, is the closest thing to a summer vacation”.
“Almeida’s lack of foresight and inability to resolve incidents are absolute,” said the councilor. A government must be able to plan ahead, manage with agility, execute and provide solutions to the problems of the people of Madrid and what they are showing us with the management of these facilities is just the opposite”, she concluded.
The socialist spokeswoman, Mar Espinar, also denounced these delays.