Tag Archives: Long Street Swimming Pool

Refurbishment of the Turkish Baths and Long Street pool …

From the CapeTowner, by Monique Duval, 25th October 2012

Although the refurbishment of the Turkish Baths and Long Street Pool has been considered a low priority by the City, an architect has decided that the unique facility deserves more attention. Karinina Ingwersen from Oranjezicht tabled her report on the complex to the ward forum at a meeting held on Tuesday October 16 where she explained that she has re-drawn all the floor plans to give officials a better understanding of what the property consists of and what work needed to be done. “It s a unique facility and we cannot let it deteriorate any further. I drew the report to motivate the refurbishment of the Turkish Baths and Long Street Pool. “I think it is an embarrassment. Long Street is such a vibrant part of Cape Town and so I feel we must do something about the amenity which is already used by many in the community,” she said.

In her report, Ms Ingwersen outlines the issues including the basic maintenance it requires and she has made proposals on the adjustment of the layout to optimise its usage. She explained that the facility consists of six erven which are zoned general commercial and general residential. The pool was built in 1908 and the Turkish Baths were inaugurated by Councillor Sam Goldstein in May 1927. According to a plaque which dates back to 1998, the murals inside the Turkish Baths were painted by Gregg Smith. Ms Ingwersen said the architectural style of the building could be defined as Art Nouveau and Victorian. She said while the interior of the Turkish Baths had a Middle East ambience, as would be appropriate for its function and cultural originality. She said the amenity is situated in a conservation area and is protected by the National Heritage Resources Act.

Ms Ingwersen told the forum the baths and pool were in dire need of an upgrade and general maintenance would not be enough. “I really hope this helps motivate the City to do something, the longer we wait, the more derelict it will become and even more expensive to remedy,” she said. The facility first came under the spotlight nearly two years ago when former ward councillor, Belinda Walker said visitor numbers were dropping. In previous comment given to the CapeTowner, mayoral committee member for community services, Tandeka Gqada said the City was currently tiling the hot room, two steam rooms, and the floor, installing new benches in the sauna and carrying out electrical repairs at the Turkish Baths (“Turkish baths a low priority, says City”, CapeTowner, October 4). In her proposal, Ms Ingwersen said maintenance would form a big part of the overall renovation and so should be done simultaneously.

Her proposal includes ideas to create a new passage that will run from the entrance to the pool. “This will offer more controlled access. At present access for all is either through these change rooms – compromising security and privacy – or through the upper level passage and balcony onto the spectator seating, and therefore are not ideal options,’ she said. Her proposal also includes further changes to the mezzanine level, the change rooms and the general clean-up of the Turkish Baths. Ms Ingwersen estimated that the refurbishment of the facility could cost up to R10 million and questions on what basis it was ranked as a low priority. “Here is a straightforward opportunity waiting to be taken by the council: to turn around the existing overall deteriorating situation into a beneficial and vibrant place of healthy activity, where developed potential opportunities will secure a more viable financial basis.

“It will be a successful project to be proud of, a social upliftment confirmation and a far better financially rewarding enterprise. The proverbial feather in the cap. “Future maintenance will be remarkably reduced to a minimum. “Hopefully this report will serve as convincing incentive and motivation to secure adequate fund allocation for a well-deserving project,” she said. Ward councillor Dave Bryant said while he welcomed the report he didn’t think the City would be able to fund it but that it shouldn’t deter the community from raising funds. “I think it’s great that she has put this plan together but I think at the moment it’s a bit out of the reach for the City. It was very interesting and we will soon set up a meeting to discuss the report with her,” Mr Bryant said.

Copyright Cape Community Newspapers, part of Independent News and Media.

There was an elderly masseuse at the Turkish baths, but after she …

From the CapeTowner, by Monique Duval, 3rd February 2011

The Long Street Turkish baths came under the spotlight at the Good Hope Sub-council meeting, after a City of Cape Town report showed that they were under-used. The Department of Community Services said in the report that the facility required revitalisation. There was an elderly masseuse at the Turkish baths, but after she left visitor numbers dropped, the report said. Councillor Belinda Walker made several suggestions to improve the facility. She recommended that the City considered “outsourcing” and finding a commercial entity interested in managing it and that they should consider extending the operating times to accommodate the surrounding community.

And while the Turkish baths are underused, the Long Street Swimming Pool in the same building seemed to attract more visitors. Statistics for the swimming pool showed that 8 400 people visited it in January last year generating a revenue of more than R35 000. In March it attracted 6 842 visitors and 5 378 visitors in April. During the period from June to August, more than 20 000 people used the swimming pool, including people who sign up to use the facility every month. Long Street residents and the surrounding area have raised concerns about the appearance of the swimming pool and the Turkish baths and have said they should be improved.

Resident Russell Wightman, said he agreed with extending the operating hours of the facility.“It should be improved and it needs to be open longer. The City can spend a little on upgrading it as well, the lockers in the changing rooms are a mess. “I paid a year in advance intending to do some training there but was often put off by people booking lanes and closures due to events that do not include everyone, especially those who paid upfront,” he said. Mr Wightman said that while he visited the swimming pool, he did not like the Turkish baths. “It doesn’t seem very clean. We need someone who will put some love into it,” he said. Peter Lewis said he enjoyed using the swimming pool and said if it was open later more residents would use it. “I am convinced that more residents, workers, and students would use the baths if this were the case. I use it from time to time and love it.

Resident Sabine Palfi, who has lived in the city for 10 years said she has used the swimming pool once as swimming doesn’t “appeal to her”. However, she said the exterior of the building needed to be revamped. “The entrance could be more inviting. From the outside it looks grubby.It may also help if people knew more about it,” she said. Resident Byron Qually said while he didn’t use it often, he agreed its appearance could be improved. “I enjoy passing through the foyer, which seems to retain most of the heritage details and embellishments. Although the pool itself is refreshing, it is sad that the original changing-booths and other architectural details have been removed. It would be great if they could be reconstructed, as they also have a charm which could really differentiate the pool from more contemporary gyms, almost like the wooden huts have come to symbolise Muizenberg and St James. The tar pavement outside the baths really should be upgraded to the red brick which is being placed throughout the city,” he said.

Hilda Bornman, who owns a flat directly opposite the back door of the Long Street Baths said the noise was unbearable. She said most residents where she lived used the swimming pool in the complex. “Every day we deal with the arrival at of workers at 6am which include noisy gate, car engines revving, loud voices, doors slamming, music blaring from the cars. Very loud cheering, whistling, sometimes even drums, when there is a gala at the pool, until very late in the evening. “Noisy children during weekends playing outside the pool area. “The accoustics in that area are not good at all. All the tenants and owners who live in the flats near the pool constantly complain about the noise we have to put up with. We have not officially complained because we do know that the pool has to pay for itself,” she said.

Gert Bam, City director for Sports, Recreation and Amenities said the exterior of the building was painted 20 years ago. When asked whether the building had been refurbished in the past five years, Mr Bam said: “Only emergency and minor repairs and maintenance took place during the last five years. For example, repairs to the seating and the filtration plants and the installation of safety and security gates. The interior was painted three years ago. Any major repairs will require that the pool is closed for at least 12 months”. He said because the swimming pool and the Turkish baths were in a heritage building no major refurbishments can take place without prior approval from Heritage Western Cape. “Only swimming galas, synchronised swimming, water polo and underwater hockey and squad training sessions are allowed at this swimming pool. These events take place mostly during winter every week. “The public are not allowed access to the pool when competitions take place. “The public are notified – a notice is placed on the board at least seven days before the event takes place,” Mr Bam said.

Copyright Cape Community Newspapers, part of Independent News and Media.