How much were Lethbridge outdoor facilities used in 2018’s mild summer compared to 2017?
It was a mixed outcome for outdoor facility usage within Lethbridge this year as 2018 saw a delayed start to summer with colder temperatures spanning all the way into late April.
Henderson Pool is one facility that saw a noticeable drop in numbers over the summer season, facing an almost 18 per cent decrease in visitation.
That number dropped from an all-time high in 2017, that saw more than 86,000 people, and was the first full season the pool was open after two years of major renovations.
City officials say less consistent temperatures were a main contributor in this year’s decrease.
“In 2017 we saw long stretches of mid-30s (C) weather to high-30s in two-week stretches at a time and that really contributed to people wanting to get outside,” said Robin Harper, general manager for recreation and culture.
Harper however did note this year’s numbers were still good and much higher than those seen before the upgrades made in 2014.
“Before the upgrades we saw about 30,000 to 35,000 people visiting the pool.”
Although aquatic facilities saw a dip, the cooler temperatures didn’t stop people from visiting Lethbridge’s historic site: Fort Whoop-Up.
READ MORE: Galt Museum chosen to run Fort Whoop-Up
This year the facility noted a 19 per cent increase in attendance and a 180 per cent bump in food sales.
Officials noted this was especially exciting as Alberta Tourism recently reported an overall decrease of 9.3 per cent in visitation at museums and cultural destinations in 2018, following Canada’s centennial year.
“2017 was a busy year for tourism in Alberta,” said Susan Burrows-Johnson, CEO and director at the Galt Museum, which also runs Fort Whoop-Up.
“So we’re really pleased that in 2018 we had that increase.”
Now heading into winter: six ice centres have opened their doors with similar schedules as last year, including daily public skating.
For hockey, it’s a tighter schedule, with the Lethbridge Minor Hockey Association saying practice times for the winter season have been set but finding any extra ice time beyond that within the city is almost impossible.
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