Council debates pool re-opening

Chris Clegg
South Peace News

The re-opening of the indoor pool in High Prairie will occur only after the public’s safety receives the highest consideration.

Council held a discussion on the matter at its meeting June 9. Under current restrictions, CAO Brian Martinson said the pool could open only for two lanes for swimming, and the leisure pool would not open.

He added staff would still need two weeks to get the pool ready.

After speaking to pool manager Gayla Arams, Martinson reported there was interest in re-opening the pool and Arams promised minimal staff would be hired to run the facility.

“I think Phase 3 is coming faster than we think,” said Martinson, meaning more restrictions would be lifted.

Martinson presented information to council on the details needed to be followed for re-opening. Some included recording the names of all users and all users had to book appointments.

Not all of council was on board to re-open.

“Just because they say we can re-open, should we?” asked Councillor Donna Dey- naka.

“There are a lot of issues,” she added. “I haven’t heard a big clamour for the pool to open.”

“That’s right,” added Councillor Michael Long.

“Is it worth opening?” asked Deynaka. “Is it worth the whole process…”

“I know it’s easier to wait,” replied Councillor Debbie Rose, but added people have asked her about re-opening.

Mayor Brian Pana- siuk noted swim lessons would be offered, which would be a plus.

Long asked what the protocol would be if someone used the pool and tested positive.

“Shut down and start all over again?” he asked.

“That’s a good question,” replied Panasiuk. “There’s a big cost of draining a pool and filling it.”

“There are a lot of unanswerables,” said Long. “I think we should find out the answers first.”

“It would be a shame if we opened and had to shut down,” said Councillor Brian Gilroy.

“I’m not in support of opening the pool right now for lane swim,” added Councillor Judy Stenhouse.

Council will discuss the matter at its meeting June 23.

Arams issues update

Editor’s note: Following is a portion of pool manager Gayla Arams’ update June 18:

“While the Aquatic Centre remains closed at this time, we have begun taking a thoughtful approach to planning a phased reopening that will prioritize the safety of members, visitors, and staff.

““We currently have both the leisure pool and main pool filled and are busy heating, balancing water chemistry and planning the facility schedule.

“We are only one of the many pools opening throughout Alberta, and will be awaiting water test results prior to announcing our facility opening date.

“Lane swims, senior swims, evening family and adult swim times will remain the same. Our public swim times will require patrons to call ahead and reserve a time slot.

“It is imperative that we maintain social distancing between our patrons.

“You will notice a slight change in our facility schedule while we transition through the relaunch stages. Capacity numbers have changed in all pools and changerooms.

“Please feel free to visit our website @ www.townofhighprairie.com or follow us on our Facebook Page – High Prairie Aquatic Centre for an updated facility schedule coming soon.”

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