Victoria Park’s outdoor pool will reopen after a $ 1 million renovation project

TRURO, N.S. – After almost three years and $ 1 million in work, Truros Victoria Park Pool is finally reopening with exciting new upgrades.

“I think it’s great just to be able to offer a little bit more opportunities to the community again,” said Town of Truro’s active community coordinator, Shannon Jarvis. “We’ve been kind of locked in for two years.”

The pool last operated with a damaged heating system in 2019. It was closed and repairs were delayed when COVID-19 hit in 2020 and remained closed the following summer while the city prepared to secure contractors and raise funds.

“We’re going to be at least a million dollars when it’s done, both the pool house and the pool,” said city director of corporate services Bonnie Coulter. “I think with COVID, workforce and supply chain problems, costs can exceed the million dollars. We have done our best to stay within budget, but we have had to be realistic about the availability of products and time frames. “

A successful grant application from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency amounted to $ 495,000. And in a widespread community effort, $ 125,000 in donations has been raised to date.

“It talks about the value of the asset to society and to the memories many people have of using the pool, (including those) who no longer live here,” Coulter said. “We have received contributions from people who grew up here but who do not live here anymore, who really wanted to see it continue.”

As the largest outdoor public pool east of Montreal, the site has offered a respite for that inland community since 1959. It was last replaced in 2004, with community efforts.

“I know people definitely needed to have the outdoor place to go for the last few years,” said summer student lifeguard Ben Bonnell. “I’m really glad we can bring it back to everyone.”

Bonnell only had a summer lifeguard by the pool before it closed. The new pool provides the opportunity to warn lifeguards who had fewer opportunities under COVID into a different environment. The Recreation Department has worked with the Rath Eastlink Community Center and Scotia Pool to coordinate hours as many of the 19 lifeguards work across facilities.

“It’s just so important to bring in a new generation of guards,” Bonnell said. “We do not have much left and so it is a kind of fresh new team coming up. It is so great that we get a newly renovated facility with a new pool house and everything too. It feels very special to be a part of this.”

An important feature is the interior of the pool house, which has been completely renovated to meet accessibility standards.

“People who are regular users at the pool will really notice the change of the pool house because it is bright and accessible,” Coulter said. “It’s like it’s a new facility. It is much more functionally furnished, and the pool area itself will be very inviting. ”

Many of the massive pool repairs are out of the public eye, under the new pool liner (which has a 20 to 25 year lifespan). This includes the heating system, metal frame, pipe replacements and cleaning.

The facility includes a children’s pool, water spray features, the beloved double water slide (which is being rebuilt), lanes and a seesaw. The wading area is lit up, and the deck has benches and grass area.

A wide range of programming and drop-in activities are offered, including swimming lessons for all ages, track swimming, group junior watch and pool parties for young people. A new addition is AquaGo! artistic swimming, which Jarvis hopes to see take off. She adds that the popular pool is for everyone, not just for those who are “sporty”.

“You see a ton of kids here,” Jarvis said. “You get day camps or groups coming in from all over the world, but then you have the kids coming in every day. This is their activity. That’s what they want to do. They They’ll probably grow up and be lifeguards when they getting older. They just come in and they love being in the atmosphere. “

In a normal year, the pool operates after graduation until Labor Day. The month of August is a soft launch as the city returns to programming and the final features are added to the pool. Other purchases on the wish list that will come while looking at the capital budget each year include new sunshades, lifeguard stands, lane markers and other everyday equipment.

“We’re pushing as hard as we can, just to open it up to the community, and next year we want a big party that opens,” Jarvis said.

Another project, the new splash pad in the playground area, opened the first week of July and is free to the public. It works from dawn to sunset. The adjoining parking lots were also newly paved thanks to a donation from Will-Kare Paving & amp; Contracting LTD.

Prices and registration are available online.