Ron Wells says he has been kicked out of the lane pool at Onekawa for kayakers.
He says scheduled school groups pushed rehabilitating old people to the paddling pool.
Regular users of the 25m lap pool at the Napier Aquatic Centre on Maadi Rd reckon it is barely a public pool, it is booked out so often for groups.
"It just seems there is not enough open water for us to use," Napier mother Alex Pratt said.
John Skidmore, who travelled from Whirinaki to use the pool, said it had been a hassle, turning up only to be turned away. For Mr Wells, it had been an "ongoing outrage".
He said he felt like casual pool users were "second class citizens" and had been involved in an ugly incident where he was asked to vacate the pool, mid-swim, and refused. Mrs Pratt had a similar experience. Last month the pool was closed to casual users more than it was open, the regular user said.
It was not a question of using another pool in Napier. It was the only one with a flat smooth bottom, perfect for rehabilitation work. It was shallow enough to be safe, Mr Wells said.
He said one man wore an inflatable neck brace to keep his head above water.
"Where should he go and exercise?" Mr Wells asked. The pool was popular, agreed Napier City Council community development manager Dennis Morgan.
"It is a public pool and it's an ongoing issue trying to balance casual users with bookings. Everybody wants to use it at peak times, space is limited."
He said it was a juggling act between keeping the pool busy enough and it being too busy.
The council was trying to do the best it could for everybody, Mr Morgan said.
Was there a need for another pool like it? He said he couldn't comment but said there were enough pools in the region.