"THE Jubilee Pool is not a luxury – it is a key part of Penzance's identity and life."
That is the opinion of local Cornwall councillor Cornelius Olivier ahead of tomorrow's meeting on the future of the much-loved Art Deco pool.
The meeting follows an assessment on Tuesday of the extent of the storm damage which the pool has suffered in recent weeks.
Cornwall Council Cabinet member for partnership, Adam Paynter, and officers from pool owners Cornwall Council will discuss the future of the pool with operators Tempus Leisure, local councillors and representatives from the Friends of Jubilee Pool.
There have been conflicting rumours circulating in the town about whether the pool is likely to open this summer – or, indeed, ever again. But Mr Olivier said he would be fighting very hard to ensure the Jubilee Pool remains part of Penzance's fabric.
"The pool is not some inessential luxury – it must be treated in the same way as the harbour or the prom. Cornwall Council was on the point of committing to substantial expenditure to renovate the pool before the storms.
"They could see it had a future and I don't think the storms should change that."
Martin Nixon, chairman of the friends, said he hoped that more detail about the extent of the damage would emerge.
"I've absolutely no idea of what the repair bill might be but I'm hoping that there will be some idea of what the costs are going to be and then we can plan accordingly."
Mr Nixon said that he would be able to communicate to the meeting that there was massive support for the pool.
"Since the storms, we have had hundreds of people joining as friends," he said.
"On our Facebook site, we've had loads of 'likes' and almost overwhelmingly positive comments, not just from people in Penzance but from around the country."
Rebecca Farrington, who runs the Poolside Indulgence café at the pool, says she is still hopeful that she will be open for business in time for Easter.
"If I'm given the all-clear that it is structurally safe and I can get back in to clear up, then I think we can still be open at Easter," she said.
In waiting for the official damage assessment, Ms Farrington says it has been a confusing time for people interested in the pool's welfare. "You get so many conflicting stories," she added. "There are people who tell you that the pool won't reopen but when John Pollard, Leader of Cornwall Council, came to see the damage, he was positive.
"My main worry is that if the pool doesn't open this year, things will slide and there won't be the impetus to get it reopened in the future."
See Yesteryear on page 21 for more on Jubilee Pool.