A newly-elected Valentine Hydrotherapy Pools committee is confident of being able to turn the swimming facility around after a last minute council decision left it in community hands.
Lake Macquarie councillors were set to vote on a motion on Monday night to take over the facility, demolish the existing 25 metre, 15 metre and toddler pools and replace them a 15m above-ground learn to swim pool after the former committee asked council to step in and run the facility.
But following a lengthy debate the council decided against that recommendation after the new committee, which had been in place for just eight days, contacted council asking for a chance to get it back up and running.
Valentine Hydrotherapy Pools secretary Judith Wilson said the committee was pleased about council's decision, but was still "on egg shells".
"We do know we're still on shaky ground," Ms Wilson said. "We have to show we're progressing. The council can still cancel our lease anytime they felt like it."
The pools have been community-run since it was established more than 50 years ago, but sits on council land.
The centre closed in March due to the coronavirus, but Ms Wilson said the committee had to address "high-risk" items council had identified before it could re-open. The roof is in need of repairs and several of the pools also have water treatment issues.
But she said in the short time since the new committee came in, they had already had an electrical engineer in to look at the electrics, a pool equipment company had given them filtration advice and a contractor had also looked at the roofing.
She said the registered charity was in the process of applying for grants to fund the necessary repairs.
"We've done an awful lot in the first few days," Ms Wilson said. "It's a catch 22 because we can't open to raise money, but we'll by applying for more grants and hoping people can do some of the work at a discount or as a donation."
The committee is pushing to have the facility up and running towards the end of October, Ms Wilson said. The hydrotherapy and 25 metre pools are expected to be the first to re-open and Ms Wilson was hopeful intensive swimming lessons could return in the Christmas holidays.
Ms Wilson said she gained confidence from the fact that she had been part of a committee that had turned the centre around once before.
"When I was involved in the 70s, we had very little money," she said. "We did lots of fundraising to get there.
"We've got a good committee. Everyone's enthusiastic. All we can do is try hard and do our best."