Ongoing ripples at the Jerusalem Pool

The Save the Pool Action Committee is alleging that the owners are trying to evade a court ruling to remain open year-round.

Jerusalem Pool 521 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Jerusalem Pool 521
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The fight for the Jerusalem Pool is not over. Although swimmers at the city’s only Olympic-size pool felt victorious when the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court ruled last month that the swimming pool must be kept open year-round at an affordable price, the pool management – building contractors Ela Brothers and Moshav Shoresh – apparently do not see this as the end of their attempts to close it and construct luxury residential buildings and a parking lot at the site instead.
Swimmers who tried to renew their annual membership after the court decision were informed that the pool would nonetheless be closing “for renovations” at the end of December for an unspecified period and that no memberships could be taken out in the meantime.
The Save the Pool Action Committee, established last year when the owners’ intent became clear, is considering how to continue the battle. Meanwhile, the municipality, which had taken the owners to court, is also not giving them any quarter. Last week, the city’s legal adviser, Yossi Havilio, sent the lawyer of the pool owners a sharply worded letter in which he said that their actions were tantamount to contempt of court, writing: “Your letter, which states that the pool owners plan to close it on December 31, 2010, for repairs that will take several months raises the suspicion that your clients are seeking to evade carrying out their obligations according to the judgment… and this without your clients having presented any support for their claims about the nature of the necessary work.… Documents submitted to me [in part by the Action Committee] recently make it look as if your clients never had any intention of operating the pool in the winter.… The Jerusalem Municipality does not accept the need to close the pool for several months.… The Jerusalem Municipality intends to demand that the court order be carried out to the letter.…”
According to the Save the Pool Action Committee, the owners possess a valid business and operating license. The pool was closed last December for four months of “renovation work” during which time part of the wall separating the outdoor children’s pool and heated inside Olympic pool was removed, an apparent attempt to make it more difficult to keep the facility open year-round.
A member of the pool staff insisted that the pool had to undergo further renovations.