Firefighters from Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service helped to fill the new swimming pool at Washington Leisure Centre in Sunderland, as part of regular crew training. The 25m pool, which is due to open next spring, was checked for being water tight by the fire fighters, before 15,000 tiles were cemented in. The pool and its two water slides, together with a learner pool, are a key feature of the £11m replacement of the Washington Leisure Centre. Councillor John Kelly, the City Council’s portfolio holder for public health, wellness and culture, said: “There’s still work to be done before the leisure centre opens in late spring but filling the pool for the first time is an important milestone in the construction of a facility that will be enjoyed by generations to come.”
The entire process of gradually filling and testing the pool structure took eight days with a seven day saturation period and a further seven days of testing. Station manager Steve Graham, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, said: “In addition to saving lives and property, our service is about helping the community. This work has been slotted into part of our training programme and it’s given us a fresh challenge and an opportunity to familiarise ourselves with this major new facility for the community of Washington.” Funding for the project was first announced as part of Sunderland City Council’s £60m capital programme last year and work began in February. The new leisure centre is being built by design and build contractor Pellikaan Construction, which specialises in sports and leisure centres.