Port Alberni’s pool will be re-opening in October, with some new COVID-19 safety measures in place.
Port Alberni city council gave approval on Monday, Sept. 14 for the re-opening of the Echo ‘67 Aquatic Centre, which has been closed since March 2020 due to province-wide COVID-19 restrictions.
The pool and the fitness centre will be open to the public in October. People will have the ability to sign up for particular time slots so the facilities aren’t “overwhelmed” by traffic, said parks, recreation and heritage manager Willa Thorpe. Thorpe said the city’s communications department will come out with information in the next few weeks about how people can sign up for these time slots.
The aquatic centre’s sauna and hot tub will remain closed, following provincial guidelines.
Councillor Debbie Haggard noted during Monday’s virtual meeting that many people in the community depend on the pool for physical rehabilitation.
“Going to the pool is not something that I would do right now, but I know that the staff will take every precaution that they possibly can to keep it safe,” she said.
Councillor Helen Poon admitted that she was initially “hesitant” to re-open the pool, but Thorpe’s precautions had provided her with some confidence.
“I’m happy with the precautions that are being taken,” Poon said.
Thorpe said on Monday that she has worked closely with the city’s finance department to budget the pool’s re-opening, so the pool can operate in the final three months of 2020 without going over the 2020 Financial Plan. Staff will come back to council later this fall with options to keep the pool open and sustainable for 2021 and beyond.