Public swimming pools in Hong Kong

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Sun Yat Sen Memorial Park Swimming Pool, opened 2011, in Sai Ying Pun.

Public swimming pools in Hong Kong are managed by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD). There are 44 public swimming pools in Hong Kong; 9 in Hong Kong Island, 13 in Kowloon, and 22 in the New Territories. LCSD manages public swimming pools according to Law of Hong Kong Chapter 132 sections 42 to 45.[1]

History[edit]

The former pool at Victoria Park, the first public swimming venue in Hong Kong.
The main pool at Lei Cheng Uk Swimming Pool complex, opened 1971 as one of many funded by the Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club.[2]

20th century[edit]

Victoria Park Swimming Pool, built and managed by the Urban Council and funded by the Hong Kong Jockey Club, was the first public swimming complex in Hong Kong. The 50 by 20 metre pool was officially unveiled on 16 October 1957 by former Governor Sir Alexander Grantham. It was highly popular with residents, and served over 360,000 over its first year of operation.[3] The spectator stand seated 1,700. This facility operated continuously until 2013, when it was closed and replaced by a new indoor swimming pool (of the same name) on the site adjacent. The old pool will consequently be demolished, sparking some mourning of the loss of a piece of the collective memory of many Hong Kong residents. In response, the LCSD stated they would "explore the possibility" of displaying some items of historical significance, such as the plaque unveiled by Governor Grantham, at the new facility, and planned to make use of "3D laser scanning technology" to record the architecture of the old pool complex.[3]

Kowloon Tsai Swimming Pool, in Kowloon Tsai Park, opened in 1964 as the first public swimming pool in Kowloon. The opening of the facility was publicised internationally in a British Pathé newsreel, which stated a construction cost of £125,000 and highlighted the lack of bathing beaches in the densely populated vicinity.[4]

The first indoor heated public pool, Morrison Hill Swimming Pool in Wan Chai, opened in 1972. While many swimming facilities close in the winter season, the public now has the option of visiting 24 different public heated pools, both indoor and outdoor, which remain open during the colder months.[5]

Many swimming complexes of the 1960s and 1970s were funded, in part or whole, by the Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club. One of these was the Tsuen Wan Swimming Pool, opened 1975, which was the first public swimming pool in the New Territories. The name was changed to Kwai Shing Swimming Pool in 1978.[6] The standardised design of the complex is typical of the era, incorporating two 50-metre pools, changing rooms and lobby located mostly underneath a covered grandstand, and several other smaller teaching pools.

The Pao Yue-Kong Swimming Pool complex, the only public pool in Southern District, was officially opened on 9 July 1977 by then-Governor Sir Murray MacLehose. It is named after Yue-Kong Pao, who donated funds toward its establishment.

The Sha Tin Jockey Club Swimming Pool, the largest pool complex in Sha Tin District, opened in April 1981. The Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club funded the $33 million project in its entirety as to commemorate the opening of the nearby Sha Tin Racecourse.[7]

In the 1980s, the Urban Council announced a policy of building more "fun pools" with special free-form designs and water toys. A councilor explained, "It is felt that these fun pools will provide more fun, excitement and enjoyment for the public who no longer regard swimming as a mere form of exercise." In 1985, four such pools were planned for Kowloon and a fifth for Hong Kong Island.[8]

The Regional Council (RegCo) was founded in 1986. Prior to that date, swimming pools in the New Territories fell under the purview of the Director of Urban Services, as the Urban Services Department, the executive arm of the Urban Council, had been servicing the New Territories since its establishment in 1953.[9] The operation of New Territories swimming pools was subsequently transferred to RegCo, who also built new facilities.

Kowloon Park Swimming Pool, opened on 12 September 1989, has undergone several upgrades in recent years. It served as the venue for the aquatics events in the 2009 East Asian Games, and is today has the highest patronage of all pool complexes in Hong Kong, serving over 2000 swimmers per day.[10]

21st century[edit]

With the dissolution of the Urban Council and Regional Council at the end of the millennium, operations of all public swimming pools were taken up by the newly formed Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD).

Controversy erupted in 2004 after thousands of bloodworms were found in various public swimming pools.[11] The worms reportedly posed no threat to humans, but LCSD management came under fire for not being forthcoming about the issue.[12][13] A "massive cleanup" was undertaken to eliminate the worms.[14]

2004 lifeguard staffing cuts[edit]

In 2004 the LCSD slashed the lifeguard workforce from around 2,400 to 1,580. The Hong Kong and Kowloon Life Guards’ Union has spoken out against this cut in the years since, stating that it is unsafe and puts unreasonable pressure on the lifeguards. Many swimming pools have protest signage about this issue, which the LCSD has asked the lifeguards to remove.[15] The lifeguards have gone on strike in 2004, 2005, and 2014.[15]

2014 lifeguard strike[edit]

In August 2014, at the height of the summer swimming season, many lifeguards serving Hong Kong's beaches and swimming pools went on strike. About 400 lifeguards staged a sit-in at the headquarters of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department in Sha Tin.[16]

Lifesaving staff complained that since lifeguard numbers were cut drastically in 2004 their workload has been too great, with lifeguards having to look after greater numbers of swimmers, and warned that safety had been compromised by the government cutbacks.[16][17] They said the situation has been exacerbated by crowding caused by increasing numbers of mainland tourists at Hong Kong pools and beaches. The vice chairman of the Hong Kong and Kowloon Lifeguards' Union complained, "some of them urinate everywhere and jump into the pool without wearing swim suits, or bring food to the venue. They don't have the same personal hygiene and safety standards."[18][19]

It was suggested that the influx of mainland swimmers was a result of poor water quality in mainland Chinese swimming pools.[20] A Shenzhen newspaper, Southern Metropolis Daily, had also published an article highlighting the affordability and good facilities of Hong Kong's pools compared to those in Shenzhen. After the report was published, the number of LCSD pool closures due to contamination of the pool water with vomit or feces reached the highest level in six years.[21] As a result of the staff shortage during the strike, some pools were temporarily closed and certain facilities at others, like toddler pools, shut down to divert staff resources.

New pools[edit]

In recent years the LCSD has replaced several older facilities. The new HK$800 million facility at Victoria Park hosts a 50 by 25 metre main pool, a multi-purpose pool with adjustable depth floor and diving platform, and the largest swimming pool spectator stand in Hong Kong, seating 2,500.[22] On 11 May 2011, the first phase of the new Kennedy Town Swimming Pool opened, relocated in order to facilitate West Island line construction works.[23] On 1 April 2013, the new Kwun Tong Swimming Pool opened on a site directly adjacent to the old pool complex.[24]

Several new pools are planned. A new Wan Chai Swimming Pool recently opened to replace an older pool of the same name, which will be demolished to make way for the new Exhibition Centre station of the Sha Tin to Central Link. Another new pool is planned for Tin Shui Wai North, as the two existing pools in the new town are very crowded.

Monthly ticket scheme[edit]

A Public Swimming Pool Monthly Ticket in Hong Kong ($150) with name of holder, valid date and issuing venue.

The Public Swimming Pool Monthly Ticket Scheme (Chinese: 香港公眾游泳池月票計劃) began on 5 July 2012 (ticket selling started on 21 June).[25] The Leisure and Cultural Services Department is responsible for this scheme.[26]

The then Chief executive Sir Donald Tsang Yam-kuen announced in the 2011-2012 Policy Address the introduction of "monthly tickets for public swimming pools to encourage members of the public to swim regularly. Concessionary rates will be available for the elderly, people with disabilities, students and children."[27]

Prices are:

  • HKD$300 for monthly ticket (half price for students, children from 3 to 13 years old, persons aged 60 and above).
  • HKD$19 for single entrance admission, HKD$9 concessionary rate.

All public swimming pools in Hong Kong are available except Wan Chai Swimming Pool.

List of pools[edit]

Hong Kong Island[edit]

English name Chinese name Opened Notes Refs. Images
Pao Yue Kong Swimming Pool 包玉剛游泳池 1977 Called "Aberdeen Swimming Pool" until 1983. [28] Pao Yue Kong Swimming Pool (brighter).jpg
Kennedy Town Swimming Pool 堅尼地城游泳池 2011 Replaced earlier pool of same name opened 1974. [29][30] Kennedy Town Swimming Pool 2018.jpg
Sun Yat Sen Memorial Park Swimming Pool 中山紀念公園游泳池 2011 [31] HK 香港 中山紀念公園 游泳池 Sun Yat Sen Memorial Park Swimming Pool 04 interior May-2012.jpg
Morrison Hill Swimming Pool 摩理臣山游泳池 1972 HK Wan Chai 灣仔 Oi Kwan Road 摩理臣山游泳池 Morrison Hill Swimming Pool Dec-2013 002.JPG
Wan Chai Swimming Pool 灣仔游泳池 2015 Open for group training only. Replaced older pool opened in 1984. [32] Wan Chai Swimming Pool in 2015 (1).JPG
Chai Wan Swimming Pool 柴灣游泳池 1980 [33] Chai Wan Swimming Pool (clear view).jpg
Siu Sai Wan Swimming Pool 小西灣游泳池 2011 [34] Siu Sai Wan Swimming Pool.JPG
Victoria Park Swimming Pool 維多利亞公園游泳池 2013 Replaced earlier pool of same name opened 1957. [35][36] Victoria Park Swimming Pool Interior 2017.jpg
Island East Swimming Pool 港島東游泳池 2001 HK Sai Wan Ho Quarry Bay Lei King Road 港島東游泳池 Island East Swimming Pool interior July-2013.JPG

Kowloon[edit]

English name Chinese name Opened Notes Refs. Images
Lai Chi Kok Park Swimming Pool 荔枝角公園游泳池 1984 [37] Lai Chi Kok Park Swimming Pool.jpg
Lei Cheng Uk Swimming Pool 李鄭屋游泳池 1971 Lei Cheng Uk swimming pool.jpg
Sham Shui Po Park Swimming Pool 深水埗公園游泳池 1985 [8] Sham Shui Po Park Swimming Pool View 2015.jpg
Kowloon Park Swimming Pool 九龍公園游泳池 1989 Kowloon Park Swimming Pool Overview 201404.jpg
Tai Kok Tsui Swimming Pool 大角咀游泳池 2006 [38] HK Tai Kok Tsui Swimming Pool entrance lobby 大角咀公眾游泳池 interior 大角咀市政大廈 Tai Kok Tsui Municipal Services Building night Feb-2014.JPG
Tai Wan Shan Swimming Pool 大環山游泳池 1977 Originally called "Tai Wan Swimming Pool". [39][40] HK Hung Hom Summer Wan Hoi Street Tai Wan Shan Swimming Pool 02.JPG
Ho Man Tin Swimming Pool 何文田游泳池 2000 [41]
Kowloon Tsai Swimming Pool 九龍仔游泳池 1964 Kowloon Tsai Swimming Pool View 2016.jpg
Morse Park Swimming Pool 摩士公園游泳池 1970 [42] HK MorseParkSwimmingPool MainPool.JPG
Hammer Hill Road Swimming Pool 斧山道游泳池 1996 [43] Hammer Hill Road Swimming Pool 2018.jpg
Jordan Valley Swimming Pool 佐敦谷游泳池 1997 Jordan Valley Leisure Pool AUG.JPG
Kwun Tong Swimming Pool 觀塘游泳池 2013 Replaced earlier pool of same name opened 1971. [44][45] Kwun Tong Swimming Pool 2015.jpg
Lam Tin Swimming Pool 藍田游泳池 2012 [46]

New Territories[edit]

English name Chinese name Opened Notes Refs. Images
Mui Wo Swimming Pool 梅窩游泳池 1992 [47]
Tung Chung Swimming Pool 東涌游泳池 2011 [34] Tung Chung Swimming Pool (Hong Kong).jpg
Tuen Mun Swimming Pool 屯門游泳池 1985 [48] Tuen Mun Swimming Pool (viewed from southeast).JPG
Jockey Club Yan Oi Tong Swimming Pool 賽馬會仁愛堂游泳池 1985 [49]
Tuen Mun North West Swimming Pool 屯門西北游泳池 2013 [50] TMNWSwimmingPool.JPG
Tin Shui Wai Swimming Pool 天水圍游泳池 1994 [51] Tin Shui Wai Swimming Pool 2018.jpg
Yuen Long Swimming Pool 元朗游泳池 1983 [52] Yuen Long Public Swimming Pool 201006.jpg
Ping Shan Tin Shui Wai Swimming Pool 屏山天水圍游泳池 2011 [31] Ping Shan Tin Shui Wai Swimming Pool 2016.jpg
Shing Mun Valley Swimming Pool 城門谷游泳池 5 December 1998 [53][54] Shing Mun Valley Swimming Pool 2018.jpg
Tsuen King Circuit Wu Chung Swimming Pool 荃景圍胡忠游泳池 1987 [55] Tsuen King Circuit Wu Chung Swimming Pool 201807.jpg
Kwai Shing Swimming Pool 葵盛游泳池 10 October 1975 Called "Tsuen Wan Swimming Pool" until 1978. [6][56][57]
North Kwai Chung Jockey Club Swimming Pool 北葵涌賽馬會游泳池 1984 [58]
Tsing Yi Swimming Pool 青衣游泳池 30 September 1996 [59] TYSP inside.JPG
Tsing Yi Southwest Swimming Pool 青衣西南游泳池 26 July 2017 [60]
Fanling Swimming Pool 粉嶺游泳池 1978 [61] Fanling Swimming Pool 2017.jpg
Sheung Shui Swimming Pool 上水游泳池 1992 [47] Sheung Shui Swimming Pool.jpg
Tai Po Swimming Pool 大埔游泳池 1992 [62] TaiPoSwimmingPool FunPool.jpg
Hin Tin Swimming Pool 顯田游泳池 1992 Phase II (indoor pools) opened 2007. [47][63] Hin Tin Swimming Pool 201706.jpg
Ma On Shan Swimming Pool 馬鞍山游泳池 1997 [64] Ma On Shan Swimming Pool 2017.jpg
Sha Tin Jockey Club Swimming Pool 沙田賽馬會游泳池 1981 Built in two phases. [7] HK Sha Tin Jockey Club Swimming Pool Overview.jpg
Sai Kung Swimming Pool 西貢游泳池 1992 [47] Sai Kung Swimming Pool 2017.jpg
Tseung Kwan O Swimming Pool 將軍澳游泳池 2001 [65] Tseung Kwan O Swimming Pool Aerial.jpg

Proposed pools[edit]

English name (working) Chinese name Notes Refs.
Tin Shui Wai Area 107 Swimming Pool 天水圍107 區游泳池 Proposal to relieve the badly congested pools of Yuen Long District. Under construction as of 2020. [66]
Pool next to Aldrich Garden, Shau Kei Wan Proposal by Eastern District Council, under consideration by LSCD as of 2014. [67]
Sports Centre-cum-Indoor Heated Swimming Pool in Area 65, Tseung Kwan O Proposal by Sai Kung District Council, under consideration by LSCD as of 2014. [67]
Amenity Complex in Area 103, Ma On Shan 馬鞍山第103區綜合設施大樓 Indoor complex including a 25-metre training pool and a 25-metre teaching pool, both heated. Awaiting Legislative Council funding as of January 2020. [68]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance". Hong Kong e-Legislation. Department of Justice. Retrieved 17 March 2017.
  2. ^ "Lei Cheng Uk Swimming Pool, Sham Shui Po". The Hong Kong Jockey Club Archives. Hong Kong Memory Project. Retrieved 29 April 2014.
  3. ^ a b "Old Victoria Park Swimming Pool to open for public visits before closure (with photos)". Press releases. HKSAR Government. 28 August 2013. Retrieved 28 January 2014.
  4. ^ "Hong Kong's In The Swim" (Film). British Pathé. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  5. ^ "Swimming Pools". Sports & Recreation in Hong Kong: Past and Present. HKSAR Government. Retrieved 7 February 2014.
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  7. ^ a b "Sha Tin Jockey Club Public Swimming Pool, 1981". The Hong Kong Jockey Club Archives. Hong Kong Memory Project. Retrieved 17 April 2014.
  8. ^ a b "Urbco pools fill a summer need" (PDF). Hong Kong Standard. 7 July 1985. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  9. ^ "Urban Council of Hong Kong" (PDF). Hong Kong Standard. 26 October 1978. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
  10. ^ "Park pool ready for 3rd HK Games". news.gov.hk. 23 April 2011. Archived from the original on 16 April 2014. Retrieved 15 April 2014.
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  14. ^ Wu, Helen (6 September 2004). "Massive clean-up launched at public pools". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 7 August 2014.
  15. ^ a b Cheung, Karen (13 July 2016). "Lifeguard union to hold city-wide strike on Sunday – several pools, beaches likely to close". Hong Kong Free Press.
  16. ^ a b Lai, Ying-kit; Yap, Brian; Liu, Calvin (6 August 2014). "Lifeguard strike closes beaches, pools". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
  17. ^ "Pools, beaches hit by lifeguard strike". The Standard. 5 August 2014. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
  18. ^ "Hong Kong lifeguards strike over influx of swimmers from mainland China". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 5 August 2014. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
  19. ^ "Hong Kong lifeguards to strike following influx of China swimmers". Channel NewsAsia. 5 August 2014. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
  20. ^ Ngai, Edward (5 August 2014). "As Chinese Tourists Flock to Hong Kong, Lifeguards Strike Over Crowded Beaches". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
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  23. ^ "Kennedy Town Swimming Pool to open for public use". Press Releases. Leisure and Cultural Services Department. Retrieved 7 February 2014.
  24. ^ "Kwun Tong Swimming Pool to open with a new look (with photos)". Press Releases. HKSAR Government. Retrieved 7 February 2014.
  25. ^ Asia Release Service:LCSD to launch Public Swimming Pool Monthly Ticket Scheme (with photo)
  26. ^ COMMUNITY SPORTS COMMITTEE on 28 February 2012
  27. ^ The 2011-12 Policy Address Policy Agenda Page34 Point No.3
  28. ^ "Change of Name of Aberdeen Swimming Pool". Urban Council. Recreation Select Committee. 8 April 1983.
  29. ^ "Kennedy Town Swimming Pool to open for public use (with photos)". Press releases. Government of Hong Kong. 9 May 2011. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
  30. ^ "Memorandum for Members of The Recreation and Amenities Select Committee of The Urban Council". Urban Council. 15 July 1974.
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  32. ^ "203 UC(A) Wan Chai Reclamation Recreation Centre Stage II". Urban Council. 20 April 1985. Phase I for the swimming pool started in July 1981 and was completed in October 1984.
  33. ^ "Wide-ranging building plans by Urban Council" (PDF). South China Morning Post. 18 June 1979. Retrieved 11 November 2014. "In Chaiwan, work is going on to build an $18.7 million, eight-pool swimming complex and garden which will serve about 250,000 people.
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  37. ^ "$100m for recreation facilities in Laichikok" (PDF). Hong Kong Standard. 21 July 1983. Retrieved 10 November 2014. The $46-million swimming complex, comprising eight pools, would open in April next year.
  38. ^ "Tai Kok Tsui Sports Centre and Swimming Pool now open (with photos)". Press releases. Government of Hong Kong. 14 January 2006. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
  39. ^ "Aerial view of Hung Hom". Hong Kong Memory Project. Retrieved 7 August 2014. Whampoa Dockyard is in the centre. Tai Wan Shan Swimming Pool on the top right was opened in 1977.
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  46. ^ "LCSD's heated swimming pools open in winter (with photo)". Press releases. Government of Hong Kong. 30 October 2012. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
  47. ^ a b c d Witt, Hugh, ed. (1993). Hong Kong 1993: A Review of 1992. Government Information Services. p. 343.
  48. ^ "Regco plans meetings with Urbco" (PDF). Hong Kong Standard. 13 July 1985. Retrieved 10 November 2014. Major projects expected to be completed this year include the Tuenmun Swimming Pool Complex and Phase I of the Tuenmun Town Park at a cost of $86 million.
  49. ^ "Opening of RHKJC Yan Oi Tong Swimming Pool, 1985". Hong Kong Memory Project. Retrieved 7 August 2014. The Jockey Club donated HK$5 million to construct a swimming pool at Tuen Mun for its residents in 1985. On 16 May 1985, the Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club Yan Oi Tong Swimming Pool was opened by the Club’s Deputy Chairman, The Hon. Lo Fook-wo.
  50. ^ "Tuen Mun North West Swimming Pool officially opens (with photos)". Press releases. Government of Hong Kong. 29 June 2013. Retrieved 7 August 2014.
  51. ^ "LCQ12: Tin Shui Wai Swimming Pool". Legislative Council. p. 9 May 2001.
  52. ^ Cheung, Christine (24 April 1983). "Governor calls for patience over 1997" (PDF). Hong Kong Standard. Retrieved 11 November 2014.
  53. ^ "Shing Mun Valley Swimming Complex Opens to Public". Government of Hong Kong. 2 December 1998. Retrieved 7 November 2014. The Shing Mun Valley Swimming Complex located in Shing Mun Road, Tsuen Wan will be opened to public this Saturday (December 5).
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  55. ^ Lee, Viola (29 December 1985). "Pellet proposal pulls "poison" from pools" (PDF). Hong Kong Standard. Retrieved 10 November 2014.
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  58. ^ "Pool set to open". South China Morning Post. 9 July 1984. p. 22.
  59. ^ "Minutes of the One Hundred and Fifteenth Meeting of the Recreation and Culture Select Committee of the Regional Council held on Tuesday, 8 October 1996 at 2:30 p.m. in the Main Chamber on the 1/F of the Regional Council Building". Shatin, Hong Kong: Regional Council Secretariat. 7 November 1996. p. 15.
  60. ^ "Tsing Yi Southwest Leisure Building to open on July 26 (with photos)". Hong Kong Government. 14 July 2017.
  61. ^ "Recreational facilities in NT will get a $420m boost" (PDF). Hong Kong Standard. 22 October 1978. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
  62. ^ Cheng, Siu Kei (2008). "Making of a New Town: Urbanisation in Tai Po" (PDF). Tai Po District Council. p. 278. Retrieved 4 November 2014.
  63. ^ "Hin Tin Swimming Pool phase II opens". Government of Hong Kong. 10 July 2007. Retrieved 7 August 2014.
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  65. ^ "Sports and Recreational Venues". Hong Kong 2001. Government of Hong Kong. Retrieved 7 August 2014. Five new recreation and sport venues were completed in 2001: [...] Tseung Kwan O Swimming Pool.
  66. ^ "天水圍 107 區游泳池興建進度匯報" (PDF). Working Group to Follow up on the Construction Progress of the Swimming Pool in Area 107 Tin Shui Wai. Yuen Long District Council. Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 November 2014. Retrieved 11 November 2014.
  67. ^ a b "Establishment Subcommittee Follow-up to meeting on 11 June 2014" (PDF). Legislative Council.
  68. ^ "Sports, Recreation and Related Facility Projects" (PDF). Legislative Council. 20 January 2020.

External links[edit]