There are no more doubts. These are days of Radio Futura in the capital 24 hours a day: “The street burns in the setting sun, there are hidden tribes near the river, waiting for night to fall. It takes courage, it takes courage. Come to hot school”. Last night has been torrid. Sleeping in the capital is an illusion if you don’t have air conditioning. The thermometer in the Retiro park has not dropped below 25 degrees all morning. Faced with this situation and with the crisis in the swimming pools – hundreds of users have been complaining for days about the ticket sales system and a limited capacity – sources from the Department of Sports announce that in “the next few days” the capacity of more swimming pools will be expanded municipalities, not yet determining which ones.
The decision comes after increasing this Thursday by 80 places ―from 400 to 500 users― the swimming pool in the district of Arganzuela, known as Peñuelas and where the reserve on-line it sells out daily in a matter of minutes almost every day. It’s not the only one. The balance of the first month with the pools open, according to municipal data, is 102% more capacity than in 2021. Last weekend, for example, 10 of the 15 pools that were open sold out. The percentage of reservations reached 91% of the total places offered. And everything, without the heat wave of these days.
It is not being easy to submerge in the waters of the capital. The Madrid City Council started the summer campaign on May 15, like every year, for Saint Isidro. The capital is one of the few cities in Spain that starts the summer season so early. Of the 22 municipal swimming pools, yes, five did not open. Three weeks later, a spokesman for the Sports area confirmed this Wednesday that finally three will remain closed all summer, with what that means for the affected districts.
The result for the summer of 2022 is 19 municipal swimming pools for three million people from Madrid. One for every 157,000 residents. The opposition considers that there has been an obvious lack of foresight. “Madrid is not prepared for climate change,” said the president of the Regional Federation of Neighbors, Enrique Villalobos, on Wednesday. “There are districts like Tetuán, Retiro and Barajas that do not have swimming pools. They have not been designed since the 1990s and the city has grown twice as much”
Apologies in the Community
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The Community of Madrid also manages four public swimming pools in the capital. The intention until this Thursday was to keep them closed until the end of June. “The delay also has to do with the contracts of the lifeguards,” a spokesman explained on Wednesday. “In the midst of a heat wave, the president [Isabel Díaz] Ayuso leaves us without the only summer pool in the Retiro district, ”Félix Sánchez, secretary of the neighborhood association, also explained this Wednesday. The General Director of Sports, Fernando Benzo, answered the neighbors on social networks. He explained to them that the pool does not open on these dates because “it is always like that”. The newspaper library shows that the public swimming pools of the Community opened in 2019 on June 1 and not on the 26th, as now.
This Thursday, in the Assembly and to questions from the opposition, the Minister of Sports, Marta Rivera de La Cruz, has apologized to the people of Madrid. “It is true that the heat wave should have brought forward that opening”, she has said, to allege that “it was not done because the staff legally entered work on June 24”. “We are doing everything possible to bring it forward, even 24 hours before. It is not being easy due to the lack of personnel”, she assured. In addition, she has taken the opportunity to promise that next year “they will be brought forward to the beginning of June”. “I want to apologize to the affected citizens. I apologize for this and I promise that nothing like this will happen again next year”, concluded the counselor.
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