Kimberley Aquatic Centre to remain closed for foreseeable future.

Kimberley Aquatic Centre to remain closed, next update coming late September

The City of Kimberley has announced that the Aquatic Centre will remain closed indefinitely, or at least until the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) and the provincial sporting agencies change the guidelines and limitations to re-opening outlined in their return-to-sport documents.

“City staff will continue to monitor their direction and update the public again in late September,” the City said in a press release issued Wednesday, August 19.

READ MORE: City of Kimberley closes Aquatic Centre

According to their release, the City staff has been reviewing guidelines set in place by viaSport BC, the organization created with support from the provincial government and direction from Lifesaving Society of BC and the British Columbia Recreation and Parks Association.

“While the pool itself is considered low-risk for transmission of COVID-19, other areas of the facility are not,” the City explained.

“The narrow lobby, hallways and change rooms make enforcement of 2-metre physical distancing next to impossible. viaSport guidelines state that individuals must have at least 5-meters of ‘unencumbered’ floor space per person meaning 5-meters of open space when out of the pool. It further recommends at least 7-meters of space per person when in the water. This limitation drastically limits the number of patrons in any given area of the facility, which already requires 7-10 staff on-site when open. The guidelines also recommend prohibiting drop-in programs as physical distancing is very difficult with this type of programming.”

Another recommendation is that patrons use one door for entry and another for exiting the Centre, however this isn’t possible at this particular facility.

viaSport also requires that hot tubs and steam rooms remain closed because these sorts of spaces make it impossible to accommodate adequate physical-distancing protocols.

The City said that even after the Aquatic Centre reopens, the hot tub and steam room will likely remain closed due to the increased risk of infection.

“This is a tough decision for us and one we know residents are passionate about. As cases rise in our province, Council is supportive of keeping the Aquatic Centre closed until it is safe to re-open,” said Scott Sommerville, Chief Administrative Officer. “We are not willing to put our staff at risk of contracting COVID-19, including lifeguards who potentially have to have physical contact with patrons in the event of an emergency. We will continue to review the situation to determine if the PHO has made any changes to orders or updates to the sporting bodies’ recommendations. Staff and patron safety is our number one priority and if their safety means we go a little longer without the pool operating, then that is what we have to do. We aren’t taking any chances with public health.”

The Aquatic Centre has been closed since March 17, 2020. While some other outdoor spaces have been able to re-open most indoor facilities remain closed.

READ MORE: Minor hockey awaiting more details as to what a return to sport will look like



paul.rodgers@kimberleybulletin

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

Two new COVID-19 cases reported in Interior Health

The total number of Interior Health cases since the beginning of the pandemic is now at 522

The pandemic is far from over, says Kimberley Mayor

Be vigilant about hygiene, social distancing and masks, he says

QUIZ: Do you know what’s on TV?

Fall is normally the time when new television shows are released

Canadian ski resorts wrestle with pandemic-vs.-profit dilemma as COVID-19 persists

Few are actually restricting the total number of skiers they allow on the hill

Victoria-area RCMP locate high-risk sex offender thanks to help of taxi cab driver

Scott Jones wanted on a Canada-wide warrant, ‘a risk to women and girls,’ police say

A (virtual) walk around the world by 88-year-old B.C. man

George Doi says it’s simple: ‘I like walking’

End of CERB means uncertainty for some, new system for others

As of a week ago, the CERB had paid out $79.3 billion to 8.8 million people

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Horgan, Wilkinson trade barbs over MSP premiums, health care at campaign stops

Horgan called a snap election for Oct. 24 earlier this week

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

Most Read