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Fountain Park pool closure sets summer swim plans adrift

St. Albert residents reassess aquatic options for July, August
Fountain Park Pool will be empty once again this summer. FILE/Photo

St. Albert residents are re-assessing their summer swimming options after hearing that Fountain Park pool will be closed for July and August.

The pool closure, which the city announced on Feb. 21, is because warrantied repairs need to be done following the roughly $16.5 million extended pool closure and rehabilitation work between May 2022 and July 2023. 

Since the repairs taking place this summer are covered under warranty, the city isn't facing any additional costs. In its Feb. 21 announcement, the city said the work planned for the summer includes fixing some tile defects, which will require draining the pool, as well as some paint touch-ups and electrical work.

In an email, the city's director of engineering Dawny George said the electrical work will address circuit issues.

“On occasion, localized electrical circuits are being overloaded and causing circuit breakers to trip,” George said. “This is then causing some equipment like hand dryers and outlets within the change rooms to stop working periodically.”

For Alex Pedersen and her family, another extended closure of Fountain Park pool means the family will likely head to Edmonton to swim this summer.

“One more thing for me to go into Edmonton [for] after we moved back to St. Albert for all of the amenities,” she said, adding that she and her fiance frequent Fountain Park Pool at least two or three times per week.

“We do the lanes, and sometimes we bring our niece, and she plays in the smaller pools, and it's nice because it has all of the amenities. But with the closure, like, we just had a brand new baby, so I was hoping to put him into swimming lessons.”

The city says more information about how summer swimming programs will be affected by the closure will be announced in the spring, but it's expected that some drop-in classes and other types of programming will be relocated to the pool in Servus Place.

“As the repair work and adjustments cannot be completed during a regular non-operational period of the facility, the timing of this closure has been planned strategically to reduce impacts on regularly scheduled programming,” George said.

Pedersen said she has found lane swimming at Servus Place's Landrex Water Play Centre to be less than ideal, and her family prefers to go to Edmonton to swim, despite having to pay more.

“We like Servus, it's just that we find that it's a bit high-energy, so with a brand new baby I don't know if I'd be as comfortable going to Servus for lane swimming,” she said. “It's great for families with older kids, but I find that the smaller pools there are either too small or too deep — they don't really have the in-between like Fountain Park does, so we're going to have to venture into Edmonton, which is in turn going to cost more in gas [and] it's going to cost more in fees.”

“We both have Fountain Park annual passes, so we're paying for something that now we're not going to be able to use and then having to pay the higher fees for Edmonton.”

Christine Clement, a regular lane swimmer at the Grosvenor outdoor pool, says she's expecting the summertime closure of Fountain Park will lead to increased outdoor pool usage again this summer.

“Before COVID there were people there, but obviously when Fountain Park closed, then there were a lot of people there,” Clement said, referring to the pandemic-related closure of both pools in 2020, followed by partial re-openings in the summer of 2021, and then the closure of Fountain Park in 2022 while Grosvenor re-opened for good.

This year, Clement said she's expecting “more people for sure.”

However, Clement said she's hoping another closure of Fountain Park pool might lead the city to opening the outdoor pool earlier in the season, and closing it later in the season.

The Grosvenor pool usually opens after the May long weekend, and usually closes the first weekend of September. Since there's no confirmed re-opening date of Fountain Park pool this summer (although the city is expecting the repairs to be complete by the end of August) Clement hopes the outdoor pool will be open longer if the weather's nice enough.

“In my eyes and in a business perspective, it's a perfect time to try it,” she said. “There's lots of opportunities for us to all play at the pool later.”

Fountain Park pool will close on July 2.

Jack Farrell

About the Author: Jack Farrell

Jack Farrell joined the St. Albert Gazette in May, 2022.
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