Je Suis Désolé

In our last post we told you about events that occurred at the West Wave Pool. Eyad and I were asked to leave the pool because, we were told, the Pool Manager, “felt uncomfortable” with our presence. I wrote a blog expressing my concern and lodged a complaint with the Auckland Council Manager responsible for the city’s pools.

My complaint was well received. I was treated with respect and concern. I was told the circumstances would be investigated. I could expect a reply in twenty-four hours. Today I was called back.

Auckland Council has accepted that the West Wave Pool Manager’s “uncomfortable feelings” were no sufficient reason to ask Eyad and me to leave the pool. That was an error. Eyad and I were welcome at the West Wave Pool. I was asked if the Council could repay the cost of our entry into the pool. Coaching at the pool was restricted to nominated clubs but my presence in general support of Eyad was not a problem. I declined the refund but accepted a free swim next time we visit the pool.

I am more than happy with the resolution. I am most pleased that Eyad has been witness to events seldom seen during his life in the war-torn part of the world he calls home. He has seen an example of a senior bureaucrat not afraid to say, “My people did wrong. I’m here to put it right.” That example is far more important than the Pool Manager’s behaviour. And for that I am deeply grateful.

I am thankful that Eyad has seen that bad things in New Zealand can be addressed. He has seen our country at its worst and at its best. I was asked whether it was possible to take down the original story. I have no editorial control over that sort of thing. I also feel that the lessons that have been learned and the good things that have happened are better understood by keeping the whole story public.

I have agreed to keep the Council advised of Eyad’s progress. He swims first in Whangarei this Sunday.

And so, Auckland Council, on behalf of Eyad and me, thank you.         



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