Last year, St. Davids families protested the town’s decision not to open the pool.
They are hoping not to have to do that again.
St. Davids parent Adriana Vizzari is one of them, and is concerned the town is currently debating the issue of whether or not to open the two pools this summer, and whether each will offer lessons. She is hoping both pools will open.
Parks and recreation manager Kevin Turcotte says so far the pool discussion has been with councillors during the budget process, when he was asked about St. Davids.
His plan, he says, is to try to open the St. Davids pool as is customary, about mid-June, around two weeks before it would open to the public.
However, he cautioned councillors that although it has always been properly winterized, it’s an old pool which has been closed for two winters, and there could be mechanical problems.
“I just wanted them to be aware there could be problems. If something does come up, we’ll address it, based on the cost of repairs.”
He’s hoping that isn’t the case, but he won’t know until he tries, he says.
If there is an issue, what happens next depends on how expensive it would be to repair. The decision would be one for council to make at that point, he says.
“We’d have to give council a business case to consider. Ultimately it would be up to council to decide and approve the expense. It’s not something that’s in the budget.”
As far as swimming lessons, a decision will be made when he knows more about the restrictions imposed by the province, he says.
“My plan is to open the pool, and see what colour we’re in, and what programs we’re able to offer.”
Last season, once the province cleared the way for pool openings, the town announced it would be operating the Memorial Park pool and the Virgil splash pad. The decision to leave the St. Davids Pool closed was made by the town’s emergency control group, based on cost.
“If it weren’t for costs relating to the pandemic, I would open it and deal with mechanical problems, if there are any,” Turcotte said last season. But the Old Town pool is newer and more reliable than the St. Davids facility, which is expected to be replaced.
The original timeline for a new pool, which depended on receiving a major grant from the provincial and federal governments, would have seen the old one open for 2020, with work beginning on the new, $5 million pool when it closed last fall. However, that grant didn’t come through, and any future timeline depends on a successful result for new grant applications, Turcotte says, but his plan, when that happens, is to time construction without losing a season.
A fundraising committee has been struck, but has no target, until they know they have secured a grant and how much it’s for. Their discussions to date have been about going after grants, as well as naming opportunities from a large sponsor, such as Bell Canada.
The town has $100,000 put aside in its capital budget, which shows council’s support of a new pool, Turcotte says, and donations so far have contributed about $48,000.
The pool is a huge part of the St. Davids community, says Vizzari, where children can meet their friends and learn to swim. She’s hoping they can do so again this summer.