Faced with the increase in energy prices, around thirty municipal swimming pools, operated by the company Vert Marine, had no choice but to close their doors. This Tuesday, September 6, the Swimming Federation calls for an 'immediate reopening' of these establishments. Are swimming lessons going to continue?
[Updated September 6, 2022 at 4:43 p.m.] The impact of the soaring energy prices does not spare any sector of activity, and swimming pool companies are not spared. In several municipalities in France, a thirty municipal swimming pools, operated by the company Vert Marine, had to close their doors overnight. For 'a temporary duration' , thus putting ' partially unemployed staff “, said the company in a press release sent to AFP. The reason given? “Rises in the cost of energy (…) no longer allow us today to manage equipment in an economically balanced and socially sustainable way.” And for good reason, swimming pools are particularly energy-intensive establishments . 'We must both heat the water, but also have tools that allow us to have clean air inside. We must therefore treat the water, and the air', reminds the elected Patrick Apperré to 20 Minutes . The energy bill of the company Vert Marine would also have increased from 15 to 100 million euros, i.e. 'the total annual turnover' . “If this increase were impacted on the price of entry into establishments”, it would be 'multiplied by three. It's unthinkable!', adds the company.
A situation that cannot last for the French Federation of swimming (FNN). The latter spoke this Tuesday, September 6 and calls for an 'immediate reopening' of closed swimming pools . The National Union of education Physics (FSU) was also indignant at these closures that are taking place ' to the detriment of students '.
' These closures have direct consequences for all children and adults who will not be able to learn to swim. “, adds the Federation in a press release. In France, swimming is part of the official school program set up by the National Education . 'Ensuring that all children learn to swim safely is a major lever for preventing accidents in everyday life among children under 15', indicates the government website . As a reminder, accidental drownings are responsible each year for around 1,000 deaths among people under 25 years of age. Hence the importance of this learning which begins from primary school, sometimes from the large section of kindergarten , and continues through high school, even as an extracurricular activity.
The Vert Marine company is not the only one to face these problems, other swimming pools are also in difficulty. Since this summer, several establishments have been trying somehow to put in place solutions to save some money and avoid having to close. Indeed, as our colleagues from 20 Minutes point out, in Paris, for example, the town hall has decided to renovate certain swimming pools which consume a lot, in order to be able to reduce their consumption by 30 to 35%. In other departments, communities have chosen to lower the temperature of the water or to adjust opening hours. Solutions that are unfortunately insufficient. Moreover, according to the association France Urbaine, which represents metropolises and large cities, about 10% of their 108 members are planning pool closures this winter.
Vert Marine, for its part, is asking communities and the government to react quickly by taking 'the necessary and unprecedented decisions to return to bearable costs' .
In total, around thirty public swimming pools and aquatic centers would be closed until further notice throughout France. In Versailles, Nîmes, Montauban or even Limoges. Among them are: