Jim Darby says the town’s swimming pool is in need of a shutdown for maintenance.
In fact, Darby, the director of recreation and community services with the Town of Hay River, said such a shutdown – what should be an annual event – has not happened for about three years.
“There’s been a bit of a gap in the annual shutdown program,” he said, noting that was partially due to the municipal strike in 2015, during which the pool was closed but not for maintenance.
“Of course, what that means is there’s a lot of detailed work that we’ve not managed to get to,” said Darby. “So this will allow the opportunity to get a real good clean and fix the aquatic centre before the recreation centre opens.”
The annual shutdown has been set for a little more thanthree weeks from Sept. 1 to 24.
“It would normally be two weeks,” Darby said. “The reason we’ve added another week onto it is it offers you the opportunity to also recertify our lifeguards and our guards. Generally, what happens is the guards and the lifeguards are on day on, day off all the way through the year, and we’d never get an opportunity to requalify them.”
The shutdown will also provide an opportunity to train the customer services staff.
“Because there’s going to be a massive change when the new recreation centre opens,” said Darby. “There’s going to be a real big change in how we deliver a service. There’s going to be a lot more people coming in, so I want to ensure that the staff that we’ve got have had ample time to train and to take those opportunities of developing as a team.”
In addition, the shutdown will allow any work that needs to be done between the aquatic centre and the new attached rec centre, which is scheduled to open in December.
“I’ve spoken to the contractors of the new build to say this is when we’re closing for three weeks, so if there is any work that would be needed between the two buildings that would be the ideal time,” said Darby.
The annual shutdown will include the draining of the pool on Sept. 1.
“Once you empty the pool, there are tiles that need replacing,” said Darby. “There are lights above the pool that need replacing. Those who know the aquatic centre will know there’s a lot of pipes and a lot of beams that will need cleaning and dusting down. And the hot tub, as well, will be emptied and the sand will be changed.”
Any loose tiles in the pool and hot tub will be replaced.
Such loose tiles can become sharp and jagged, Darby noted. “It’s a safety concern, as well.”
Such possible problems with tiles can only be seen on close inspection.
Despite the need for an annual shutdown, everything is currently operational at the aquatic centre, Darby noted. “Everything is running.”