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How not to operate a public pool

August 24, 2009

Sam Obar 180 was on vacation this week, hence the delay in posting.

The August 13 edition of The Walpole Times had a very interesting letter to the editor.  Let me offer my commentary:

Brooke Casey of Pasadena, California wrote a letter regarding the lack of common sense at our town pools.

Ms. Casey writes that she grew up in Walpole, although she now resides in Pasadena, CA, and she and her husband wanted to bring their two-year-old son to the Kiddie Pool in Walpole.  They also had a number of relatives from all over the country with them.  Unfortunately, each member of their group of 13 people, only a few of whom were actually planning to swim, was subject to paying an EXORBITANT entrance fee of $7 each, totaling over $80.  The main pool was not open yet, only the kiddie pool was.

No one should be forced to pay an exorbitant fee to simply enter the pool area.  If the Recreation Department, which operates the public pools, is so desperate for money that they have to squeeze out every dime from everybody who even enters the immediate vicinity of the pool, there is a serious problem with the way the pools are being run.

Then, Ms. Casey gets to the main outrage of her letter.  She describes how her six-year-old niece was not permitted to step foot in the kiddie pool because she was one year over the arbitrary age limit of 5.
The fact that the Recreation Department would have the gall and the chutzpah of running a pool that does not permit anyone over age 5 to go into the kiddie pool is downright ridiculous.

This has happened before – it has happened to countless other kids – including my own sister years ago.  The policy of not letting kids over five enter the kiddie pool is arbitrary – there is no doubt about it.  There is no reasonably-justifiable reason why kids who are ten years old, for example, should not have the privilege of entering the kiddie pool.  Every kid, as Ms. Casey points out, has adult supervision anyway, so the issue of safety would be largely handled.

Ms. Casey also states that they were NEVER told of this rule when they were paying the EXORBITANT entrance fees, or else they might not have entered in the first place.  They were also told that they could go to South Pool where this arbitrary policy does not exist, but they had already paid a large entrance fee.  She points out that it is odd this rule only exists at one pool and not the other.

She sums up her letter by saying: “Frankly, I find this rule to be highly offensive and discriminatory to all families, not to mention just plain bad for business.”

Thank you, Ms. Casey, for a passionate, quality letter.  I too find this rule highly offensive. Thank you for your letter generating awareness about the unfortunate tactics the town pool is using to drive business away.

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