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Volunteer-run pool in Kingston ready to re-open as it marks 50th anniversary

Click to play video: 'Lakeshore Swimming Pool Association turns 50 this month' Lakeshore Swimming Pool Association turns 50 this month
WATCH: The Lakeshore Swimming Pool Association turns 50, and organizers celebrate by preparing for re-opening following phase one of the three phase the provincial government re-opening plan – May 22, 2021

It’s Lakeshore Swimming Pool Association’s 50th anniversary, and with summer just a month away, the team at the west-end pool excitedly awaits the day people can dip their toes in the water again.

“We’re looking forward to re-opening, and seeing friends that we haven’t seen since 2019,” said Andrew Cotton, president of the association.

Lakeshore Swimming Pool Association (LSPA) is a non-profit, membership-based pool that serves the entire neighbourhood along Henderson Blvd. Thanks to the pandemic, it’s been closed for some time now.

Read more: Coronavirus: Health authority inspects Kingston public pools, beaches for reopening

Team members say it isn’t quite as polished as it usually is because of the provincial shutdown, but that will soon change. The pool is going to be filled shortly in preparation for a June or July reopening.

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“When the government announced the phase one of re-opening of outdoor facilities on June 14, we feel that we are ready to re-open. It’s been a year of planning, working in partnership with our KFL&A partners, and following the guide to re-opening pools from the Lifesaving Society of Canada,” said Cotton.

The pool has a storied past, it was actually the first pool in Kingston.

Elaine Clark, the social director for the LSPA, as well as Cotton both share their close connection to its long history.

Read more: The push to reopen pools after a year of missed swimming lessons

“A group of neighbours got together and decided maybe we should try to build a swimming pool,” said Clark. She explains that a knock on her door resulted in her becoming one of the founding members.

“We all joined by paying a fee of $260. That money was helping in building the facility,” continued Clark.

Years later, Clark says that fee has been waived so the pool can be more accessible to young families in the area. Cotton says that the unique thing about Lakeshore is that it’s volunteer-run.

“On a personal note, it’s really special to me because my family had a membership, had shares in the organization when I was little, just as Elaine said. So to be here now as a grown-up with my own two daughters, knowing that they are learning to swim in the same pool that I swam in…It’s really a love full-circle moment,” said the president.

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Click to play video: 'Ontario government unveils COVID-19 reopening plan' Ontario government unveils COVID-19 reopening plan
Ontario government unveils COVID-19 reopening plan – May 20, 2021

Cotton says that taking advantage of the provincial and federal grants throughout the pandemic has been essential to their re-opening plan. The funding helped with PPE, and will help ensure that everyone will have a safe swimming experience.

There’s still lots of work to do, like getting the badges ready that are sewn onto swimsuits to help identify members.

“We’ve been waiting, what is it… 15 months? So this is very very exciting,” said Stephanie Beauregard, as she worked alongside her team members to prepare.

“It has been an amazing establishment that started with a few people that had an idea,” said Clark.

Everyone at LSPA is eager to do whatever it takes to help the pool that’s become so special to many.

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