News the Township of Langley (TOL) will be re-opening the outdoor pool in Aldergrove drew a lukewarm reaction from Brian Metcalfe, head coach of the Langley Olympians Swim Club.
While the club has been pressing for the pool to reopen to allow members to train, Metcalfe said it wasn’t clear how much access LOSC might have.
“We are at the mercy of the TOL and how they allocate the time and space for user groups and the public,” Metcalfe told the Langley Advance Times.
“We have not had any feedback from parks and rec staff on how this might look,” the coach went on to say.
Metcalfe described the Aldergrove pool as a potentially good “short term” solution to the club’s training needs, but no substitute for the indoor Walnut Grove and W.C. Blair pools, which remain closed.
He said the majority of the club members live near Walnut Grove.
“The more competitive swimmers [and] groups may opt to drive to Aldergrove Pool for the short term,” Metcalfe observed.
On Monday, July 27, Township council voted to partially re-open the Aldergrove Credit Union Community Centre outdoor pool facilities, likely in mid-August, along with some ice rinks.
Mayor Jack Froese said it wasn’t a “full re-opening of rec centres,” and the centre’s Otter Co-op Outdoor Experience wouldn’t have nearly the number of users they did before the pandemic.
Tentative plans called for about 40 people at a time in the pools, with four sessions a day, of one and a half hours maximum to allow distance between swimmers.
“I just have a feeling it’s not going to be enough,” Froese said.
He expected demand to be much higher for swimming.
In a presentation to council in June, Kristi McIntosh, a parent and volunteer with the LOSC described how members of the Langley Olympians were resorting to desperate measures to try and maintain conditioning, with one athlete swimming in a three-foot-deep pool while tethered to a fence, while other members of the club were working out in their garages, or swimming in lakes and swim spas.
Queries to the Township were directed to an online page that said the municipality is “currently evaluating the feasibility of reopening recreation centers in the fourth quarter of 2020.”
Metcalfe noted the top health official in the province has endorsed swimming as a safe activity during the CIVID-19 outbreak.
“We still do not understand why the TOL continues to defy the provincial health officer, Dr Bonny Henry,” Metcalfe said.
In early June, Dr. Henry told a briefing that “we’ve learned that this virus doesn’t transmit in, especially, chlorinated or ozonated water or salt water.”
However, measures will still need to be in place to reduce the number of people going to a pool, Henry added.
“The risk of course is people coming together around the pool or in the locker room, so there will need to be measures in place to reduce numbers to make sure that we’re not having close contact with people.”
Currently, some LOSC members are training at the recently re-opened Al Anderson outdoor pool operated by the City of Langley.