HUMBOLDT — A date for the reopening of the Aquatic Centre has been set.
At a city council meeting Jan. 25, council agreed to a plan that will see the swimming pool reopen on Wednesday, Feb. 10, subject to COVID-19 restrictions.
The leisure services department had also reduced the number of administration staff. Both Aquatic Centre and administration staff will be recalled on Monday, Feb. 8, with regular hours being restored to the fitness room that same day.
Michael Ulriksen, the city’s leisure services director, said the closure of the pool, which started on Dec. 24, provided some flexibility in the department’s budget.
“The temporary shutdown that we had in the aquatic center allowed us to do our maintenance instead of having to do it later in the year,” he told council.
Other reasons the leisure services department told council in a report to restore services were that the unpredictable weather of February and March would drive people indoors, the removal of curling rink ice provides opportunities for dryland training, and the potential closure of other rinks in the region could keep rental of the Elgar Petersen Arena ice consistent.
Cutbacks still exist due to the pandemic. A temporary layoffs of casual concession staff and a full-time arena staff member will remain in place. An empty program and event manager position will remain vacant. There will be continued restrictions on weekend arena time to prevent the need for overtime.
“I appreciate you're working to think outside the box to find a way to provide as many services that are beneficial to the citizens as possible during this time,” Michael Behiel, Humboldt’s mayor, said at the council meeting.
At an executive council meeting of council two weeks before, a delegation approached council about the effect the closure of the swimming pool had on citizens.
Councillor Rob Muench said politicians across the province have made decisions where they have closed facilities.
“I think when we do make these decisions, sometimes you make them thinking about dollars and cents and not about how they're going to affect the community and affect the mental health of the residents,” he said.
“I think it's important that – not just us but politicians in general – consider the effects of some of these lockdowns and and closures of facilities and that type of thing on people.”