First the good news: the McGaugh Pool is not leaking as much water as previously thought.
According to a staff report presented to the Seal Beach City Council on Monday, March 22.
A report by Jill Ingram, assistant to the city manager, said the pool is leaking an estimated 8,000 gallons of water a day—significantly less than the 60,000 gallons reported to the council on, Feb. 22.
The bad news: the city’s consultant believes the pool’s piping system is “past its useable life,” according to the Ingram report.
Following a straw poll of the members, the council directed staff to find out exactly how much water is leaking from the McGaugh Pool.
The discussion of the pool’s future will come back to the council at the next meeting.
According to Ingram’s report, there are four options for dealing with the swimming pool. Replace the pipes only; replace the pipes and the mechanics; replace the pipes, the mechanics and the deck and, finally demolish the pool.
Since October 2008, the City Council has been aware of the fact that the McGaugh Pool and the adjacent “kiddie pool” are deteriorating. Complicating any possible repairs to the pool are regulations imposed by the Orange County Health Care Agency and the requirement that the state architect’s office approve any plans that involve building on school property.
Apparently the state architect could take as long as six months, or more, to approve plans.
Discussing the fate of the city’s only pool, District 3 Councilman Gordon Shanks sighed. He compared the pool to an old dog you first got when it was a puppy and now the vet is saying it doesn’t have much longer to live.
He said people have fond memories of the McGaugh Pool. However, he believed the pool should be shut down to save the water. “Personally, I cannot justify that loss of water,” he said.
Shanks suggested turning off the water, closing the pool and turning over the sight to the Los Alamitos Unified School District.
District 1 Councilman Charles Antos agreed.
However, District 4 Councilman Gary Miller was reluctant for the city to give up its only swimming pool. “I just think it’s a sad thing that the city has no pool,” he said.
Miller also said that you don’t give up something that you have. He suggested Seal Beach shut off the water, keep McGaugh pool and apply to the state architect for approval of any plans to upgrade the community pool.
Seal Beach resident Carla Watson said she was becoming skeptical of the possibility of buying land for a new pool. Watson suggested the city buy the property from the school district, which owns the location. Earlier in the evening, Watson said most residents of Seal Beach want to save both the pool and the McGaugh tennis courts.
This was a reference to the fact that the school district plans to demolish the courts in favor of parking. A report to the school district recently determined that water leaking from the pool was undermining the ground beneath the tennis courts.
Shanks said that could be discussed with the district. Shanks said he doubted the district was interested in selling the land.
Old Town resident Eldon Alexander suggested swapping the former Zoeter School property for the DWP property and building a new city pool there.
Mike Buhbe argued that the water loss was comparatively minor. He apparently wants Seal Beach to keep the McGaugh Pool. “Seal Beach needs a pool,” Buhbe said.
District 5 Councilman Michael Levitt asked why Zoeter site hadn’t been considered for a new community pool.
Staff had originally requested that the council receive and file the report. Instead, Shanks moved to have staff bring the report back to the next council meeting.