By Nikki Jamieson
Sunny South News
The Cor Van Raay and Community Aquatic Centre is expected to open the week of June 21 for this year’s swim season.
During their regular May 25 meeting, Picture Butte town council discussed the Cor Van Raay and Community Aquatic Centre’s opening date for the 2021 swim season Town CAO Keith Davis said while they had planned on a June 4 opening for the Cor Van Raay and Community Aquatic Centre, they wish to open the pool later that month.
The town typically opens the pool at the beginning of June, to allow schools the opportunity to offer swimming lessons. This year, the town has not received any requests for it, and from a logistical standpoint, they do not know if they could manage it under current restrictions, which require no more than five people in a class at one time.
If the pool is not to be utilized for swimming lessons, and with the restrictions in place, the town is looking at running two two-hour sessions – such as from 4-6 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. – until school is out for the summer. This would mean the town would be running and maintaining the pool for 20 hours a day, so it can be used for four hours a day throughout June.
In order to reduce operational costs, administration is asking council whether to delay the regular pool opening to the week beginning June 21 or June 28, as by this time, most of school will be out and the pool could be used during the day, in compliance with COVID-19 regulations.
Davis noted the town had reached out to one school who expressed a desire to rent the pool during the week of June 21, if restrictions allow.
To compare, Henderson Pool in Lethbridge does not open until mid-June, Raymond is opening their pool at the end of June, and Cardston has not decided when they are opening their pool for this season.
When asked if the town could open the pool during the day for public swimming, Davis noted as of that council meeting, outdoor pools were allowed to open under the current health restrictions, and unless those get stricter, the pool can open for public swim.
However, the question becomes if the town opens the pool for public swim during the day, when people are at work and kids are in school, who is going to be using the pool. Once school gets out, then there are typically more users for public swim.
Public swim opportunities will also need to be pre-booked with a limited amount of people per session, similar to last year.
Maintenance work also needs to be completed before the pool can open, which requires good weather to do so. Mayor Cathy Moore noted the town only needs a couple of weeks for that to be completed, the pool filled up and to ensure everything works before opening, voicing support for the June 21 opening date. Coun. Cynthia Papworth also voiced support for a June 21 opening.
“Without the schools and the lessons, we’ll just be spending and not making any money, I would think, without the pool being open for public swim and stuff, so I think it’s a good idea,” said Papworth. Coun. Henry de Kok suggested for council to leave the motion openended to allow for room for administration to open the pool either the week of June 21 or June 28.
Davis said there was no reason the town couldn’t open for June 21, but in the worst case scenario council could bring the motion back to try for June 28. While everyone is working for a June 4 opening, upon reflection, he believed it was too early.
Council passed a motion to delay the opening of the Cor Van Raay and Community Aquatic Centre until the week of June 21.