Oxbow will be opening its outdoor pool soon.
With Phase 4.1 of the Re-Open Saskatchewan Plan now underway, the outdoor pools are allowed to get back to operating while following the regulations. However, when the good news came, most facilities weren’t ready to open instantly.
“We are at the point where we are filling the pool right now. That’s a good head start because it takes a few days to do that,” said Oxbow community development officer Tami Scott last Thursday.
“But there are quite a few guidelines around what we can have open in the pool building. For example, the change rooms won’t be open, so the people will have to come to the pool dressed in their bathing suits, they won’t be able to change.”
They are limiting the change room access as much as possible. There are also a few decisions that have to be made around swimming lessons.
“We have to maintain social distancing during swimming lessons. The instructors can’t get in the water with the swimmers and help them out. So for younger swimmers, if we do decide to go ahead, it would be parents-assisted. That’s a new and unusual step,” said Scott.
The areas around the pool will have to be regularly sanitized. Swimming aids will have to be wiped down after every single use, which will impact the number of staff they’ll have to have on duty.
The Town of Oxbow is still working on regulations to make sure that they are covering all of them and have all of them in place before the public health inspector comes out to issue a licence.
“Depending on when we can get the public health inspector out, we are aiming for the July 3 opening, but it won’t be before that,” said Scott.
She added that if not for the pandemic, their season would be about two weeks longer with the pool opening in the middle of June.
“It’s not cut short as much as you might think,” said Scott.
Even though the season won’t be much shorter, the changes this year brought will affect them financially. Outdoor pools are seasonal, they take quite a bit of money to run but don’t make much. So places that run them usually come up short on budgets, and fundraisers are a big part of their sustainable operation.
“Fundraisers are a huge factor in keeping pools in the black,” said Scott.
“One big fundraiser that we usually run to support the swimming pool is Lobster Fest, and that would have been held this (past) weekend. And of course, that’s cancelled because of COVID.”
The cancellation of the big fundraiser significantly impacted them, but since the Oxbow swimming pool opened just last summer, they didn’t want to lose a year right away and decided to go ahead this year despite all the challenges.
“We have enough money in savings to offset what will be for sure a deficit year,” said Scott.
For updates on opening date, people can check the Town of Oxbow or the Oxbow & District Recreation Board Facebook pages.