Pool delay, price rises dampen swimmers' spirits

Tel Aviv may be in festive mode as the city's 100th birthday celebrations get underway, but one group of residents is feeling there is little reason to celebrate, reports www.mynet.co.il. Swimmers are feeling high and dry after delays at the construction site have postponed the long-awaited reopening of the Gordon swimming pool - scheduled for next week - by three months, and approved rises in the entrance fees for the city's other swimming pools. According to the report, the city council approved rises of up to 15 percent in fees at the city's swimming pools, although a municipal spokesman said the increases were not uniform and had been decided for each pool individually. The spokesman said some pools were increasing only the prices of single-entry tickets and not those of annual subscriptions, while others were not raising entry charges but were increasing the fees for children's swimming lessons after a price freeze of two or three years. The report said that at some pools the discounted fees given to soldiers and pensioners would also rise, and singled out the Neveh Sharett country club for raising its fees for non-Tel Aviv residents by no less than 25 percent, to NIS 80 per ticket on a Saturday. The municipal spokesman said the fee increases stemmed from higher operating costs at swimming pools that had been caused by significant rises in the costs of electricity and water over the past year. Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for the Gordon Swimming Pool Faithful Committee - a residents' group that has fought for the preservation of the historic pool - said that hundreds of Gordon veterans were waiting eagerly for the reopening of the revamped swimming pool.