One of the main attractions of the new Cor Van Raay YMCA is the pool, which may have sparked an interest in swimming facilities across Lethbridge.
“And it has had an impact on other pools… The first month we actually saw an increase at our other facilities so I don’t know if… the [new YMCA] facility generated interest in aquatics in general.”
The Cor Van Raay YMCA opened in May 2019 and already has more than 7,000 members — a number it wasn’t expected to reach until the end of the year. The YMCA has also seen a large number of drop-in guests since opening.
“Aside from our members, which have checked into the facility, we’ve had 58,000 guests come in from across southern Alberta and as far away as Ontario,” said Ross Jacobs, the facility’s director of communications.
When the YMCA opened, there were wait times of 30 to 40 minutes to use the facility. Although this is no longer the case, Jacobs notes that there might still be a wait during peak hours.
“If you were to ratio down our numbers for what we have right now, we are much busier this summer than we’ve been in summers past, even though we had a pool at the old facility,” he added.
While the opening of the YMCA saw a rise in usage of the other pools across the city in May, the number decreased in June.
“We are being affected by a couple things, one being the weather,” said Freund, “and the other thing being, unfortunately, our facilities have had a really large increase in fecal incidents at the pools that have caused a lot of closures.”
However, as temperatures increase and remain steady, Freund expects the numbers at other pool facilities to jump back up as well.