Outdoor pool was opened despite financial concerns

With a small majority, the Forbacher council decided in June to open the Montana bath from July. It was clear from the outset that this would be a loss-making business for the municipality. The desire to offer variety to the citizens prevailed. But the number of visitors falls short of expectations.

Last year there was still carefree bathing fun: The Montana bath in Forbach has been open again since July. Operation at corona conditions is sluggish.

Photo: Reinhold Bauer

The Montana bath in Forbach has been open since July 4th. However, the number of visitors has so far been limited. “No single shift has been used up to 200 people,” said Mayor Katrin Buhrke at the council meeting on Tuesday evening.

The previous number reached the outdoor pool on Sunday two weeks ago. According to the treasurer Martin Oberstebrink, 250 guests came at that time, spread over both shifts. 400 visitors would be possible. Overall, the occupancy rate varies between two and 63 percent per day.

I simply lack a declaration of solidarity from the citizens.

Margrit Haller-Reif, chairman of the Greens faction in the Forbach town council

“On the one hand, I find that very disappointing, on the other hand it is sobering,” commented the municipal councilor Margrit Haller-Reif (Greens). “I simply lack a declaration of solidarity from the citizens.” According to her impression, no action followed a “huge expectation”. It was Haller-Reif, too, who asked for the numbers. The reason was the observation that the parking lot of the outdoor pool remains relatively empty. She is annoyed about it: “I always get a big neck when I drive past Montana.”

Mayor Buhrke, on the other hand, argued that she had been more cautious about the citizens. For this and other reasons, it voted against opening the outdoor pool in June, as did the Greens and representatives of the CDU.

Effort and costs played a major role for them. At the counseling in June, the administration clearly said that if the swimming pool was opened, the municipality would generate an additional five-digit minus. The fewer visitors come, the higher the loss. If the bathroom remained closed, it would have remained at the usual minus of 225,000 euros.

The municipality does not like an additional deficit. You have to save anyway, because the budget for 2020 is already 350,000 euros in the minus – without the bathroom opening.

Municipality is considering postponing opening hours

“I know what you mean. But the offer was wanted, the offer was created, and these are the results, ”said Buhrke matter-of-factly. The administration had already agreed with the additional supervisory staff for the corona operation to use it only as needed.

It is also under discussion to shift the time slots of the visiting shifts – 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. – so that working people can go swimming after work. However, it remains open from Tuesday to Sunday because the specialist staff is not sufficient for seven-day operation.