February 25 - March 2, 2024: Issue 615


Getting to the bottom of our rockpool problems

Pittwater residents’ complaints about murky and leaking rockpools have led to a local councillor's call for a review of maintenance and cleaning at this Tuesday’s February 27 2024 council meeting. 

Greens councillor Miranda Korzy said she has heard from numerous residents protesting about the condition of the pools during this summer and the previous one.

As a result, she has submitted a motion for the February Council meeting, calling for a briefing about the five rockpools between Palm Beach and North Narrabeen.

All aspects of cleaning and maintenance of the pools are the focus of the motion, including reporting on removal of sand, seaweed, testing and results of water condition, variations to the cleaning schedule, equipment and repairs carried out.

Ms Korzy is also asking staff for options to improve the condition and cleanliness of pools, particularly during the hotter months.

“Given the popularity of our rockpools and the numerous complaints I’ve heard from residents regarding the state they've been in recently, I hope councillors will support this call for a review of them to find out if we can do better,” Ms Korzy told Pittwater Online News

“I’ve seen the problems for myself - at Palm Beach, even after a clean and filling, the pool's half empty by the next low tide due to a leak.

“Many pools end up with seaweed and sand washed in by a big swell at high tide but, at Avalon, the water normally remains clear enough that you can see tiny iridescent fish swimming around you. 

“On one occasion when I was down there last month, the water was murky and smelly with rotting weed and little white floaters on the surface. 

“Bilgola’s had continuing problems and we’ve also had pumps replaced at Whale Beach and North Narrabeen. 

“I’ve also heard complaints about dirty water at Newport, meanwhile, Mona Vale has severe concrete cancer and elderly and disabled swimmers have problems accessing it - although it is due for refurbishment next winter.

“I’m concerned that someone’s going to dive in at Palm Beach and injure themselves, while it’s very frustrating for residents who've gone down to a pool and found it too grotty to swim in or empty due to unscheduled maintenance, especially in very hot weather - and without a public aquatic centre nearby. 

"With warmer water temperatures these days and reports of a stomach bug amongst residents, it's important for public health that the water is not carrying any nasty bacteria.

“Our rock pools are places where children learn to swim, people of all ages do laps for fitness, the elderly and disabled enjoy a splash or do their exercises, and the community meets in the long hot months to cool off and relax.

“They are also important places for several swimming clubs and those who are scared of the surf, can’t swim or when the surf is dangerous. 

A number of swimming clubs are associated with our rock pools: at Palm Beach the Barrenjoey Breakers; Bilgola pool hosts the oldest, Bilgola Amateur Swimming Club, still running as the Avalon Bilgola Amateur Swimming Club Inc; and the Pittwater Pirates swim at Mona Vale during winter.  North Narrabeen is home to Narrabeen Amateur Swimming Club, which commenced as the Narrabeen Ladies Amateur Swimming Club, along with the Shivering Sharks, another winter swim group.

Barrenjoey Breakers getting ready to dive on in. Photo: A J Guesdon

Winners of the Northside Shield in 2012 North Narrabeen Shivering Sharks (left to right, top row to front row), Steve Everett(coach),Graeme Jephcote, Rob Jack, Terry Taylor, Michael Whittaker, Ian Thompson, Steve SeeHoe, Alan Rose, Rod Tucker, Brandon Ockelford, Bruce Sweeting. Photo by Michael Mannington OAM

“I hope we can get to the bottom of the problems and find a way to fix them.” Councillor Korzy said

Cr. Korzy's Motion calls for Councillors be provided with a briefing within 3 months on:

  1. The condition of each rockpool within the Pittwater and Narrabeen Wards, north of Narrabeen lagoon.
  2. The cleaning and maintenance regime: reporting on frequency of all aspects of cleaning, including removal of sand, seaweed, testing and results of water condition, variations from scheduled days and time for cleaning, equipment used and repairs carried out - both small and significant.
  3. Options for improving condition and cleanliness of rockpools, particularly over the summer months.

Photos: A J Guesdon

Cryptosporidiosis Alert For NSW: from Issue 614

February 13, 2024
After a steep recent increase in cryptosporidiosis cases across the state, NSW Health is advising the community not to swim for at least two weeks after they've had diarrhoea.

Executive Director, Health Protection NSW, Dr Jeremy McAnulty said there had been 498 cases of cryptosporidiosis reported in NSW so far in 2024, compared to the 5-year average of 95 cases for the same time period.

Cryptosporidiosis is a diarrhoeal disease caused by the parasite, Cryptosporidium, which infects the intestine and is a common cause of acute diarrhoea in young children. Other symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, fever, headache, and loss of appetite.

Dr McAnulty said with almost half of the cases in children under ten years old, parents especially needed to be aware of the risks and precautions.

“Cryptosporidiosis is commonly acquired by swimming in and swallowing water contaminated with cryptosporidium parasites," Dr McAnulty said.

“The parasite survives for many days, even in chlorinated pools, and in the past very large outbreaks have been caused by people who had recently been infected going swimming.

“Almost half of the cases reported this year had been swimming during their exposure period, and with such a high proportion of young children affected and with many schools about to hold swimming carnivals, we're urging parents to stay alert for symptoms," he said.

People who have had diarrhoea should:
  • avoid swimming for at least two weeks after your symptoms resolve
  • avoid sharing towels for at least two weeks after your symptoms resolve
  • avoid handling food for at least 48 hours after your symptoms resolve
  • children who have diarrhoea should be kept home from preschool, childcare or playgroup until 24 hours after the diarrhoea has completely stopped.
To avoid catching cryptosporidiosis:
  • avoid swimming in estuaries and inland waterways (e.g. rivers, creeks, dams) during and for at least three days after heavy rain
  • avoid swimming at ocean beaches during and for at least one day after heavy rain 
  • avoid swallowing water when swimming
  • wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds after using the toilet, handling animals or their manure, changing nappies, working in the garden and before preparing food or drinks
  • do not drink untreated water (for example, from lakes or streams). Boiling water by bringing to a rolling boil is sufficient to kill Cryptosporidium.
The increase in cases has also been experienced in Queensland, with further information available at Queensland Health. More information on cryptosporidiosis is available on the NSW Health website.