Public Safety the Priority as Aquatic Centre Remains Closed
In an effort to prioritize public safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, City Council has made the difficult decision to maintain the closure of the Aquatic Centre. Several factors were taken into account including the rising case numbers in BC. Ultimately, the layout of the facility does not make reopening a possibility at this time. Until the Provincial Health Officer’s (PHO) orders change, the pool will remain closed.
Guidelines set by the PHO, viaSport BC, and the Lifesaving Society significantly reduce the number of people allowed in the facility. With 5 square meters of space required per person out of the water, and 7 square meters required when in the water, the lobby, change rooms, shower facilities, pool deck, and the pool itself make physical distancing requirements very difficult.
Guidelines also state that traditional swim lessons, large group programming, physiotherapy sessions and social swimming are not feasible. Children under 16 must be accompanied in the water by an adult. The hot tub and steam room are unable to open. Every patron must shower prior to entering and exiting the water. This makes session timing very difficult when factoring in the limited access to showers due to the 5 square meter per person requirement, cleaning time needed between sessions, and the line-ups anticipated.
Residents who are concerned about the amount of parcel tax they paid for the facility in 2020 can be assured that any operating surplus realized in relation to the facility closure will result in a corresponding reduction to the 2021 Aquatic Centre Parcel Tax levy.
While City Council understands the physical and mental health benefits of swimming, they are not willing to put our most vulnerable populations at risk as cases rise in BC. The City looks forward to welcoming patrons back to the Aquatic Centre but have decided to prioritize the safety of our community at this point.
City staff will continue to monitor conditions and public health regulations to determine when the pool can reopen. Updates will be provided when more information becomes available.