The Vernon Aquatic Centre welcomed the public back for the first time in months Oct. 18, 2020, as it safely reopens amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (City of Vernon - photo)

The Vernon Aquatic Centre welcomed the public back for the first time in months Oct. 18, 2020, as it safely reopens amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (City of Vernon - photo)

COVID-19: Vernon pool back in business

After a months-long closure, the aquatic centre welcomes the public back

The indoor pool is open once again after a months-long closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Following orders from the provincial health officer, the Vernon Aquatic Centre closed its doors in March and drained the pools. But as of Sunday, Oct. 18, the pool is open to the public.

“Recreation Services is pleased to be back in the aquatics business after the lengthy closure,” director Doug Ross said. “We welcome our clients back to the pools and are pleased to have made numerous upgrades during the closure.”

While closed, the work never stopped. Several major maintenance projects were completed, including the installation of a new water filtration system.

The final signoff of the new filtration system was slated to take place Friday, Oct. 16, but was rescheduled to the following day, delaying the initial opening date by a few days.

The engineer gave the all-clear confirming the filtration system met all the specifications and indicated it was safe to reopen.

Optimum settings have been established for the new system and the manufacturer’s technician remains on site this week to train staff on operation and maintenance.

Perlite was found in the water Saturday morning prior to a staff training session. It was determined the stable, non-toxic common media used in filtration systems was released into the pool as a result of one bolt that was not properly installed. The system was repaired when the issue was identified.

Recreation Services is required to have a Pool Safety Plan in place to operate and the plan, a living document, is approved by the Interior Health Authority.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the safe reopening of the pool, Recreation Services drafted an addendum to its Plan to provide staff protocols to keep themselves and the public safe while using the facility.

“The draft plan was developed using much of what was learned at the outdoor pools this summer, with adaptations needed to fit the indoor pool environment,” Ross said.

“Part of the staff training session on the weekend was dedicated to reviewing the new protocols and receiving feedback from our lifeguards in order to complete the addendum for the Pool Safety Plan,” he said. “It is only through the testing of these protocols with our staff in the water that we can confirm they are feasible and appropriate.”

Rec services also developed a Risk Mitigation Plan for the centre based on the guidelines from the provincial health office, the Lifesaving Society of BC, the BCRPA and WorkSafeBC. The document is available online to the public on the City of Vernon’s website.

“Since reopening to the public, Recreation Services has received no complaints or concerns regarding the quality of the water, and community members have said they’re thrilled to be back,” Ross said.

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