Swimmers laud aquatic centre report

A proposed $74.6 million Multi-Use Aquatic Centre boasting three pools at the Rotary Recreation Park made a splash with swimmers on Tuesday.

A proposed $74.6 million Multi-Use Aquatic Centre boasting three pools at the Rotary Recreation Park made a splash with swimmers on Tuesday.

Many applauded the newly released recommendations from an ad hoc committee that was asked to determine the scope of a proposed facility.

Swimmers at the Recreation Centre were not too concerned that downsizing the 50-metre outdoor pool to 25 metres was one recommendation.

“On a hot summer day like (on Monday) it would definitely be something to consider,” said Cathy Sveinson, whose daughter swims with the Red Deer Marlins Swim Club. “There are a lot of days in the summer where it is cold and windy and rainy and this pool sits practically empty.”

On a typical hot day in the summer about 350 swimmers flock to the outdoor pool.

Sveinson said maintaining an outdoor pool is an expensive endeavour in this climate.

Jen Walton, another Marlin swim mom, added that Blackfalds recently opened a beautiful outdoor pool that would fit the bill. She said upgrading the pool infrastructure is long overdue. Whenever she attends swim meets in a similar sized city, she has pool envy.

Sveinson added that Red Deer has two competitive swim clubs that could benefit from new pool infrastructure that would improve accessibility, bring more swim meets and increase tourism.

“I think a decision needs to be made,” said Sveinson. “If we’re going to be a forward thinking city and looking toward the future this is a future I think would be good for Red Deer.”

Other recommendations included building a 54-metre (10-lane) pool with two bulkheads, a separate dive tank, multi-purpose rooms, retail and concession space and a moveable floor.

Deb Langvand, 55, a competitive masters swimmer, said the city should have built an indoor 50-metre pool years ago.

“I will be sad if we don’t get to keep the 50-metre outdoor but I totally understand,” said Langvand.

“A 25-metre outdoor is better than nothing. A 50-metre indoor allows so many more options not only for lane swimming but different sports that we cannot offer right now.”

Recreational swimmer Shirley Simpson, 54, started swimming in 1997 after a car accident as part of her rehabilitation therapy. She’s at the pool about six days a week. Simpson agreed that it is time for another pool for younger athletes.

City council accepted the report for information on Monday. No decisions have not been made about building a new facility. Council will consider the recommendations as part of the overall community amenity project in the fall.

crhyno@bprda.wpengine.com

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