With warm weather settling in and some coronavirus restrictions lifting, the City of Regina will be opening one of its outdoor pools this summer.
During a council meeting Wednesday, municipal politicians voted to get the Regent Outdoor Pool, located at 3600 McKinley Ave., ready for swimmers as of July 17.
It was decided earlier during the COVID-19 pandemic that the city’s outdoor pools would remain closed this year amid restrictions on gatherings and protocols around social and physical distancing.
But last week, the provincial government allowed their operation effective June 22 under Phase 4.1 of its reopening plans.
The permission “came quicker than we thought,” Coun. Lori Bresciani, who, with councillors Andrew Stevens and Jerry Flegel, brought forward Wednesday’s motion.
“As a kid, to get out and enjoy the summers, our youth, to go out and play… we want them to be enjoying our pools,” Bresciani said.
The city has five outdoor pools. With Maple Leaf and Wascana pools in the process of major redesigns and Dewdney and Massey pools requiring too many repairs to open before August, council ultimately decided to pursue just Regent, good to go with paint touch-ups at a cost of about $200,000.
Adhering to the province’s distancing guidelines, the capacity of the pool will be 100 people. Swimmers and staff, with the exception of household and extended household contacts, will be required to maintain a minimum of two metres apart in all areas, including the water.
Health officials have said enhanced cleaning will be required in public and staff areas and that flotation aids will be allowed at the discretion of facility operators. These items must be disinfected and not shared between non-household contacts.
Wherever possible, health officials said people should enter and exit the facility in their swimclothes to minimize crowding in change rooms.
There is the manpower to open a total of three aquatic facilities, city officials said.
Although there is still no timeline for reopening the indoor pools closed in mid-March, municipal politicians prioritized the North West Leisure Centre, which the city could have ready by July 6, and the Lawson Aquatic Centre, which the city could have ready by July 13.
Once additional staff are called back, another pool at the Sandra Schmirler Leisure Centre could be ready by July 20.
The city’s 15 spray pads have already reopened from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.