Friends and sisters Sadie Currey, from left, Lindsay Glover, Kayley Glover and Jonquil Currey have fun at Echo Pool during First Night festivities, Dec. 31. SUSAN QUINN PHOTO

Alberni’s aquatic centre remains closed as city ponders pool’s future

Council will discuss operating model for pool at Sept. 14, 2020 meeting

Port Alberni’s aquatic centre remains closed as the City of Port Alberni decides what to do with it.

Echo ‘67 Aquatic Centre has been closed since March 2020 due to province-wide restrictions related to COVID-19. The pool usually closes for a few weeks in the summer for maintenance, and the city’s current Five-Year Financial Plan reflects a longer than usual summer closure. When city Parks, Recreation and Heritage director Willa Thorpe announced the pool’s closure in March, it was anticipated that the Aquatic Centre would reopen, as usual, in September.

City councillors will discuss financial implications of operational changes that must be implemented due to COVID-19 and an operating model for the pool at their first September meeting on Sept. 14, 2020. The meeting will be livestreamed on the city’s website, www.portalberni.ca, at 2 p.m.

“The city recognizes the Aquatic Centre is an integral component of the services provided in our community and further, that continued closure of the facility would have a significant effect in the Alberni Valley, especially to those who rely on an aquatic environment for health and wellness,” Thorpe and city CAO Tim Pley stated in a press release issued Thursday night, Sept. 10, 2020.

Should council decide to proceed with re-opening, the Aquatic Centre will be ready to welcome patrons in October 2020. “The city is confident in the ability to operate the Aquatic Centre in a way which ensures the safety of the public and staff while COVID-19 restrictions remain in place,” the release noted.

In accordance with public health guidelines and facility safety plans, the City has:

• Developed facility-specific safety plans, for the safety of both participants and staff

• Implemented a requirement of two metres of physical distancing between guests, participants and staff, per the Provincial Health Officer

• Increased the frequency of disinfection of high touch points, per the BC Centre for Disease Control

• Limited participation numbers at city facilities

Find the full report here: https://www.portalberni.ca.

Municipal GovernmentPort AlberniSwimming

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