After almost 12 months of closure, Valentine Hydrotherapy Pools finally have a reopening date at the start of next year.
The Croudace Bay facility will reopen its hydrotherapy and 25 metre pools on January 11 under a booking system due to COVID-19. Bookings can be made from January 4.
The 15 metre pool will remain shut due to impending roof works, which the Valentine Hydrotherapy Pools committee are hopeful will start shortly after the first two pools open.
The centre has been closed since March, when the coronavirus shuttered the facility. But the pools have been at risk of permanent closure for several years as the registered charity struggled to fund needed repairs, including extensive roof works.
The committee approached Lake Macquarie City Council to take over the pools, but an 11th hour change of personnel at the centre in September led to it remaining in community hands. The committee has been working hard since to reopen the pools.
Secretary Judith Wilson said they had now managed to satisfy the council's requirements to reopen the hydrotherapy and 25-metre pools.
Stains on the bottom of the hydrotherapy pool have been scrubbed off, a burst pipe has been repaired, the entire centre has been water blasted, new lines have been painted and fresh signs installed.
"It is looking better, the employees have done a great job," Ms Wilson said.
"It has not been easy. We've had probably two meetings a week for past few months.
"But things are looking up. We're working through everything."
Ms Wilson said funds were low after paying for repairs, but would improve once the pools reopen and entry fees are charged. But she said it would be a slow process as the pools will have maximum capacities due to COVID-19.
"We'll be able to have 20 adults in the big pool, and about five in the hydro pool.
"We're going to allow each person an hour, which includes showering and changing."
The opening hours will also be limited to roughly between 9am and 6pm.
But despite the limitations, Ms Wilson said the regular pool users were keen to be back after such a long closure.
"People are happy," she said. "I was getting loads of calls at home, people asking 'when can we get back'.
"It's good we can finally reopen."