Please Help Save Emma’s Babyswim and Keep Ringwood Aquatic Centre Open

This is not my normal post, but I need your help to keep an awesome swimming program operating and to spread the word.

In 2010 the Maroondah City Council (MCC) promoted a proposed $48 million redevelopment of the Ringwood Aquatic Centre. On the basis of this, user groups and staff were notified that the Ringwood Aquatic Centrre (RAC) would close in May 2011.  In December 2010 MCC council announced that due to lack of funding, the proposed redevelopment would not go ahead as planned, but that the closure of the existing centre in May 2011 would proceed regardless.  This means that the pool is going to be closed indefinitely and may possibly never re-open.

One of the unique programs at RAC is Emma’s Babyswim.  Oscar started swimming at 10 weeks old with Cookie Harkin’s Babyswim program.  Cookie retired last year and we moved onto Emma’s Babyswim at RAC, Emma is a former student of Cookie’s and was taught by Cookie.  The Babyswim program is unlike other kids swimming lessons in that it teaches children to be safe in and around the water, starting from when the are 3 months old and still have the natural reflexes that they used while in the womb.  Before Oscar learnt to swim he learnt to be safe by learning how to:
  • hold his breath under water,
  • turn back to the edge and pull himself up if he fell into water,
  • hold onto the edge of a pool and drag himself towards the steps,
  • hang onto the side of the pool, and
  • enter the pool safely by getting down on his hands and knees and entering the water feet first.
I am not aware of any other programs that teach this type of water safety, in fact many teach children to jump straight into the pool.  I have seen letters written to Cookie from grateful parents whose children were saved from drowning because they had been taught these techniques.

Emma’s Babyswim has been unable to find an alternative location for classes.  As the lessons are done in the warm water environment of the hydrotherapy pool at RAC, which is particularly important for the baby’s, they cannot simply be moved to any pool.

There are also many other programs and users of this facility that will suffer because of its indefinite (and possibly permanent closure).

The Ringwood Pool Action Group is lobbying the council to keep the pool open until they have a plan for its redevelopment and the required funding, and that the redevelopment be done in a manner which allows partial facilities to be kept open.

How can you help?
  • Sign the petition
  • Share this post on your social networking sites, blogs and via email
  • Write or phone the local councillors or state representative:
Heidi Victoria (member for Bayswater) 2/40 Station Street, Bayswater 3153 9729 1622
Maroondah City Council:
Cr Tony Dib JP, Mayor 0438 515 089 [email protected]
Cr Ann Fraser 0428 526 311 [email protected]
Cr Nora Lamont 0428 394 581 [email protected]
Cr Alex Makin 0408 311 645 [email protected]
Cr Michael Macdonald 0408 106 177 [email protected]
Cr Rob Steane 0407 519 986 [email protected]
Cr Les Willmott JP 0417 391 743 [email protected]
Cr Paul Macdonald 0428 352 046 [email protected]
Cr Natalie Thomas 0400 560 253 [email protected]
And if you have to know of somewhere that Emma could run her program, please contact her on (03) 9720 4450.

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