That is the candid assessment by Jersey Water Polo Association president Nick Dotter, after a series of meetings with Waterfront pool operators Serco and Education, Sport and Culture’s Head of Operations, Dave Bisson.For, despite claiming to have had an assurance by SLR that water polo would be one of the aquatic sports that could be catered for at the new pool, with the closure of the Fort Regent pool the sport has had no alternative but to move to Les Quennevais for a two-hour slot which has no appeal to junior players.’We’ve had meetings with Serco, but we’ve been told that we cannot play there,’ Dotter said, of the Waterfront pool.’It’s an issue of health and safety.
The pool is between the leisure pool and the changing rooms.
It is also next to the leisure pool, so if we did play waterpolo there, we would need to erect netting from the ceiling to the floor.’Since we were told that we can’t go there, we’ve been offered Haute Vallée or Les Quennevais.’The problem with Haute Vallée is that if we took that option, one of our members would have to go on an extended course to learn all about the operating systems because we would be solely responsible for the pool when we there there.’That same person would always have to be there when we wanted to train or play.’So we have chosen the Les Quennevais option, to play there between 8 pm and 10 pm on a Wednesday, knowing that the time slot is completely unsuitable for our juniors.’In the past, when we played at the Fort, we began an hour earlier which meant younger players could be home by 9 pm.
As most of the current players are in their 30s we need to attract younger players if we are to survive.’And the beauty of the Fort Regent pool was that it met most of the needs of all the swimming clubs under one roof.
When we recently hosted Southampton Water Polo Club there, one of their swimmers, when told they were going to demolish it, said: “”Why? It’s a better pool than many we play in in the UK.”” ”I feel badly let down, and wonder why £3m of taxpayers’ money has been paid for a Waterfront pool which is so unsuitable both for us, and for some of the other clubs.’Dotters’ frustration is compounded by a letter he received from SLR, dated 30 May, 2002, which states: ‘JASA has been well aware, and fully informed, of the proposals to relocate the Fort Regent pool users to the pool currently being constructed on the Waterfront.
It has always been a condition of the additional money allocated by the States that the current users would have similar arrangements in the new pool, which is being managed by Serco.’With a new man, Dave Bisson, assigned the task of helping to accommodate the swimming clubs at the Waterfront pool and at the other pools around the Island, Bisson said that he was not sure of previous correspondence, but that the Water Polo Association were told that with the closure of Fort Regent pool they would be offered similar times and rates elsewhere, which had happened.He added that the water polo people had been offered Haute Vallée at 7 pm and that for one reason or another they had declined.As for the idea that they would have to nominate one person to go on an extended course, as far as he knew, the agreement between a club and ESC was fairly simple.
There had to be at least one competent person who would know of the evacuation procedures from the building.
‘Basically, they have to know the on-site emergency procedures and read the documentation,’ he said.
‘And I would imagine they have a qualified person, re life-saving, anyway.’Meanwhile Dotter, whose Association has between 40 and 50 members and was one of the first clubs ever to sign up to the Fort Regent pool, believes that the new arrangements could sound the death knell of games between Jersey and mainland sides.In the past these were played at the weekend, in the evenings after the public had left Fort Regent pool.
Now, in an e-mail sent to Bisson by the manager of Les Quennevais pool, Chris Ricketts, and then forwarded to Dotter at the end of August, Ricketts writes: ‘The question of pool time at weekends has also been raised by Nick and it will be difficult to accommodate any weekend matches as the pool is used until 19.00 hrs on Saturdays and Sundays and cutting into public time would be unpopular.
‘Matches played after pool close would only be popular with the co-operation of the on-duty staff .
and as they are already on 12-hr shifts, I feel it is unwise to allow them to do this, even if they want to.’In reply Bisson said: ‘Our aim is not to hinder things, but to give every assistance we can.
We’ve said all along, let us know what your programme is in advance, and we’ll try to help you.
From the point of view of visiting teams, we will do everything we can to meet their requirements.
‘Saturday after 6 pm isn’t a problem.
There are staffing implications, but there are no doubts in my mind that we can cover everything.
The staff we employ work across all centres, so if there is a staffing problem, we could always move someone, for example, from Haute Vallée or the Fort to Les Quennevais.’