Delta’s outdoor pools are set to reopen for public swimming in time for the May long weekend, but patrons will have to pay to partake on weekdays beginning in July.
At Monday’s meeting, Delta council endorsed a staff report recommending the city open the Ladner and North Delta outdoor pools for public swimming on weekends starting Saturday, May 22 before expanding to seven days a week on Monday, July 5.
As in 2020, guests will have to pre-register for drop-in swims. Delta residents will have two weeks to register for swim times before those blocks are opened up to non-residents.
However, after offering free swimming for all Delta residents last summer, the city this year will resume charging the $3 entry fee on weekdays. (Admission Monday through Friday will still be free for Delta Youth Pass holders, and there will be no fee to swim on weekends and statutory holidays.)
Last year, due to pandemic restrictions, the outdoor pools were not opened until the beginning of July, and close to 6,000 people registered to use the pools over the two months they were open. The report notes over 90 per cent of all public swim times offered were sold out, with 3,928 people on the wait lists in July and 5,348 in August.
Unfortunately, around 500 patrons who pre-registered did not show for their allocated times.
“Without any fee, there was no consequence to a no-show and no time to call wait-list patrons,” the report says. “When an entire family did not show, it left the appearance that there was significant capacity and that staff had not bothered to call wait-listed patrons.”
Charging the $3 fee on weekdays during the busy summer months is meant to provide an incentive for patrons to show up for their pre-booked times and assist in maximizing the use of the two outdoor pools, the report states.
Refunds will be available for anyone who cancelled at least three hours before their registered swim time, as that will provide staff the opportunity to call patrons who are on a wait list.
The report recommended the pools stay open though early September, weather permitting, however Mayor George Harvie moved an amendment — which passed unanimously — that director of parks, recreation and culture Ken Kuntz report back in August with regards to whether the pools can remain open later into the fall.
“Unfortunately, what we heard earlier today with regards how we’re doing with the variants of COVID, it looks like we’re going to be in this situation for a long period of time, and a really important thing is for people to get out,” Harvie said at Monday’s council meeting.
“If we have a beautiful September, which we’ll keep our fingers crossed we will, I really question whether or not we should be closing the pools in early September as mentioned in the report.”