Inuvik’s long missed swimming pool is inching closer to re-opening.
A notice issued Jan. 27 by Town of Inuvik senior administrative officer Grant Hood says the “marvelous asset” has achieved a “major milestone” in renovations and repairs.
“After many months of renovation to the pool plumbing and trying to address other issues, we are confident we are at a point where the next step is to prepare for an actual opening and the return to being fully operational,” said Hood.
But don’t order new swim trunks off the Internet just yet. Hood cautioned in the release the town still had a number of further milestones to achieve before the people can start swimming again.
First and foremost, the release said, is getting staff trained in the equipment needed to keep the pool operating.
“The first step is to allow for staff training regarding the operations and the testing of certain equipment and sensors that could only be done once we achieved this milestone,” said Hood. “We are anticipating this to be a week-long activity and have started the process of bringing in qualified personnel to assist.
“Once this step has been completed the entire pool area will have to be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized given the amount construction traffic etc. that has gone on in the past.”
Getting the pool cleaned and sanitized then allows for the town to bring in an Environmental Health Inspector to ensure the facility is safe for public use.
Only when the Environmental Health Officer can the town begin certifying life guards to monitor the pool while open, which the release said could potentially take some time.
“Next will come the final step and that is to fully certify lifeguards to allow us to have the public once again enjoy this marvelous asset,” said Hood. “This can only be done once all necessary approvals have been met. The length of time this will take will depend on the availability of the staff as it does include casuals who may have other commitments such as school, which would extend the time it will take.
“At a minimum it would be 5 days. We are also in the process of training further participants to become lifeguards but they will require a longer period and levels of training first.
“Should all go well we anticipate this to be in late February or early March.”
Even if the pool is able to open before this spring, Hood noted the shortage of life guards meant the pool would have to operate at a limited capacity. Specifically, Hood said safety regulations limit the number of people who are allowed in a public pool to the number of active lifeguards on duty.
Closed at the start of Covid-19 pandemic, the town decided to use the closure to repair several longstanding issues with the pool. Fixing those issues revealed other problems with the pool and before long the town was in a full-overhaul of the plumbing of the facility and repeatedly finding new leaks in the structure and patching them up.
Several opening dates have been floated by the town over the last three years, but complications from supply chain shortages, pandemic restrictions and difficulties bringing in qualified experts have forced the goalposts to move repeatedly.