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Community says lack of swimming facilities are putting kids in danger

Vauxhall – The southern Alberta community of Vauxhall, is a small farming town that is missing one thing most municipalities boast as a great way to encourage affordable and fun physical activity. It’s known as the ‘Potato Capital of the West” and is located 90 km northeast of Lethbridge and is home to 1200 residents. Some could argue there’s not much in the way of things to do in the area and the lack of a swimming pool hasn’t helped. The town lost its only pool two years ago.
“It needs to be redone. It’s leaking so bad that it does not hold enough water,” said local resident Dorthea Mills.
With no place to hang out in the summer, Mills says kids are swimming in dugouts and canals because there is nowhere else to go. This past summer Mills’ daughter Kaitlyn found out just how dangerous diving into a dugout could be.
‘My friend last year jumped off the bridge and landed on a bottle of glass and had to get surgery,”
In 2012 a young boy lost his life after drowning in a dugout
“The RCMP found out after the boy had no swimming lessons and he should not have not been near the dugout,” adds Mills
Ironically that year the number of people who were registered in swim lessons spiked, but that was also the last year such lessons were offered in Vauxhall. Now Mills says the closest pool is in Taber, but the waiting list makes it impossible to get into classes, forcing many kids to fall behind in their lessons
“People are lining up at 6 a.m. in the morning for registration day to try and get their kids into lessons. The lessons are always booked and it’s not working for us and our kids are missing out on the lessons that they need.”
The preliminary plan for the vision for the new pool comes with a hefty price tag of close to $1 million dollars. But a group of women known as the “Friends of the Pool Society” who were appointed by the town, are confident they will raise the necessary funds to make the vision come to life.
The group is raising money through the Aviva community Fund. For more information visit their website at https://www.avivacommunityfund.org/ideas

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