Reopening of pools, ice, summer programs being evaluated by Town
The Town continues to evaluate opening recreation programs, including swimming pools. Information is being shared with the community as it is available and things continue to evolve.
The business model for recreation centre aquatics programs is based on large participant volumes and today that traditional model of program delivery is not possible due to the pandemic and related safety protocols. Although the province recently announced that municipal pools could reopen, the number of participants is regulated by Public Health. The low numbers permitted are difficult to balance when considering overall costs, including staff, energy, and enhanced maintenance requirements, Community Services General Manager Ray Osmond says.
An additional concern, at the main Alder pool, is the current condition of the vinyl basin which is at the end of its 15-year-cycle. The liner has exceeded its useful life, and repairs carried out two years ago aren’t enough to sustain the liner’s functionality. Now the Town can spend $20,000 to $30,000 on further repairs, with no guarantees that it will hold or consider other options such as a replacement with newer long-life material (stainless steel). The pool at the Tony Rose Memorial Sports Centre could be used as an alternative but doesn’t have the same spatial capacity as the Alder facility, particularly with the current physical distancing environment.
Summer programs remain uncertain at the present time. The Town is considering shorter programs based on two or three times a week at some of the smaller facilities, with a primary focus on outdoor activities.
As for hockey, there are challenges that remain. The ice pads are able to be used for skill development, not games at this stage, with a maximum of 10 people on the ice, and not able to meet restrictions on spacing in areas such as dressing rooms, corridors and players benches.
“It’s an interesting time,” Mr.Osmond says, adding the Town’s recreation revenue generation will be sitting around 25 percent of the usual, with a best case scenario for 2020 based on the current program environment.
Check the municipal website and social media for more information as the Town works with Public Health and continues to assess the situation.