Montreal residents line up to get into NDG public pool, call system ‘unfair’

NDG residents complain of long lineup and long waits to gain entry to community pools
WATCH: It's been a hot week and some NDG residents say they've been stuck standing in line in the hot sun waiting to get in to a local pool. Residents say the pool staff is not enforcing the time limits for swimmers. Global's Felicia Parrillo has more.

On most hot days, Montrealers will line up to get into Confederation pool in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce.

On weekdays, the pool opens to the public from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Due to COVID-19 and public health rules this year, the capacity is capped at 180 people. That means, when the pool is full, a line will begin to form. But only when people start lining up, does a lifeguard signal to swimmers that they have 30 minutes left.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Some outdoor public pools in Montreal open amid heatwave

“Yesterday was really bad,” said NDG resident, Katherine Watson. “We waited in line for maybe 10, 20 minutes and then they said 30 minutes left for the people in the pool. So that meant we had to wait another 30 minutes … And it was nearly 40 degrees in the sun, with three little kids that were really cranky at that time.”

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The NDG resident thinks it’s unfair that not everyone is getting the same amount of time in the pool, and thinks officials should come up with a better system.

READ MORE: Quebec green lights reopening of outdoor public pools for the summer

“I don’t mind that we have a limit, but it wasn’t fair that we were only there 30 minutes and others 2 hours,” said Watson. “I just thought a better system could be first in, first out.”

Outdoor workers getting creative to beat the heat
Outdoor workers getting creative to beat the heat

City officials says they’ve been made aware of the issue and are trying to adjust accordingly.

“The rule yesterday was, once they had 50 people in line, they would make the half-hour announcement,” said Côte-des-Neiges-NDG city councillor Peter McQueen. “I find that a little bit slow. So what we’ve instructed them today – say the pool isn’t too crowded, but when that line starts, immediately makes the half-hour announcement.”

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READ MORE: High fees associated with Montreal West pool upsets residents

Mcqueen says they have thought about other ways to control people going in and out, but ultimately, this was the plan they decided on.

“To set up a system where we’re stamping a time where people came in on the wrist, giving them a bracelet with colours, as you can imagine, that can get pretty complicated with 180 people and kids running around and so forth,” he said.

Though McQueen admits the system isn’t perfect, he says they won’t be reviewing it any further at this time.