Hot summers make public swimming pools the ideal place for many residents to beat the heat. There are a total of 44 public swimming pool complexes in Hong Kong, and the usage (attendance/ number of participants) has increased continuously, from around 13,500,000 in 2015 to around 14,300,000 in 2017. In addition, the government had earlier announced that it has earmarked HK$20 billion in the coming five years to develop new or improve existing sports and recreation facilities, so as to reach the goal of having a heated public swimming pool in every district.
In order to better understand public perception on public swimming pools — on its management, facilities, security, hygiene, lifeguard services, etc. — the DAB, following the survey from last July, conducted another one this year with the hope of comparing the results so as to better facilitate improvement measures to be made by various departments and serve as reminders for the public on what they need to watch out for when they use these facilities.
Survey subjects: aged 12 and over residents, upon entering or leaving public swimming facilities
Survey method: random interviews outside swimming facilities
Survey period: 3-13 July 2018
Eligible respondents: 1,238 persons
(3) Survey summary results
The survey results revealed that 27% of respondents had experienced swimming facilities partially closed or services suspended entirely due to the shortage of lifeguards; 50.3% of respondents have faith in the ability of lifeguards in safeguarding swimmers’ safety; 27.5% of respondents have had to go through the troubles of travelling to a pool only to find that it has been closed without prior notice. Compared to the results of the survey conducted last year, the percentage of respondents satisfied with the changing rooms and toilets have dropped 5.9% from 51.8% last year to 45.9% this year; as for pool water quality, the number of “satisfied” respondents dropped from 41.4% in 2017 to 35.3% in 2018.
The DAB suggests that government departments take measures in improving swimming pool facilities and management, raising the standards in environment hygiene, cleanliness and water quality, and the safety and privacy protections at its pools. In regards to the problem of shortage of lifeguards, we demand that the government review the staff establishment and remuneration of lifeguards in civil service pay scale and system; and in the meantime, hire more lifeguards in order to avoid disruption of service, affect on service quality and the impact on public safety. The government should, at the same time, announce the timetable for building heated swimming pools as soon as possible and to regularly monitor the progress of construction to ensure that the facilities will be finished within the time allotted.