After much anticipation, and a brief setback, Canada’s first natural public swimming pool will open in Edmonton this week.
The natural swimming pool will open on Wednesday at Borden Park.
The brand new facility was originally scheduled to open on June 22, but was delayed after a small leak was found in the filtration pond.
City staff say the pool is the first of its kind in Canada and only the second of its kind in North America. No chemicals are used in the water filtration process. Instead of salt or chlorine, water is cleaned through layers of rock, two regeneration basins full of plant and animal life, and the sun’s UV rays.
“We have wetlands that we utilize to clean the water so that way it’s safe for people to go into,” said Cyndi Schlosser, facility manager at the Borden Natural Swimming Pool.
Because chemicals aren’t used in the pool, there are additional guidelines swimmers need to follow at the Borden facility. These guidelines include using sunscreen that is free of phosphates.
Cotton is banned because it may contain dyes and other contaminants that hurt the plants.
The water is also kept a bit on the cooler side. Staff members said the pool is heated to 23 C and relies on the sun for anything warmer. But if the water temperature increases to 29 C, everyone has to get out because of a greater potential for bacterial growth.
Work on the pool began in 2010. The $14.4-million facility received nearly $1.3 million from the City of Edmonton, $39,000 from community partnerships and just over $13 million from the Government of Alberta’s Municipal Sustainability Initiative.
“Not only is it an engineering marvel, but it achieves a vision to honour Borden Park’s legacy as a natural recreation site and offers a unique experience that will draw Edmontonians from across the city,” Mayor Don Iveson said.
The pool’s grand opening was held at noon on Wednesday. Admission to all City of Edmonton outdoor pools is free this summer.
For more information on the pool, visit the city’s website.
With files from Rob Drinkwater, The Canadian Press.