Gibsons Mayor Bill Beamish has urged the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) to open the Gibsons and District Aquatic Facility in time for winter holidays.
“It’s important to a community that is like everybody else isolating and doing their best,” he said during a Nov. 24 SCRD board meeting. “It’s disappointing if we can’t move whatever we have to move to get it done before Christmas.”
The comments came after SCRD recreation manager Graeme Donn updated directors on the status of the pool, which has been closed since March and was the last of the Sunshine Coast’s three aquatic facilities to be given the all-clear to reopen by directors.
Donn said staff are preparing the facility, including installing protective screens, and are waiting for public health authorities to confirm their updated safety plans and rules around fitness classes. “I think probably it’s going to be more towards end of December, early January, but we’re working our way as fast as we can,” he said.
Beamish also asked about the planned opening times, which would see the pool reopen at reduced hours.
CAO Dean McKinley said the expected reduced hours are needed to spread remaining lifeguards across the three facilities while they try to recruit more. He said rehiring lifeguards can be challenging when pools remain closed for an extended period of time since they move or find other work. “It’s not unique at all, it’s just part of the challenge of running aquatic facilities,” he said.
Beamish said opening the pool remains a “persistent issue” in Gibsons.
In mid-November directors approved a plan for an “accelerated restart” of the Gibsons pool following outcry from Gibsons residents and a petition that circulated demanding the pool reopen. At that time staff suggested an “optimistic” opening would be early December, but that it could take up to two months.