The therapeutic pool at Pathways Health Centre for Children may be re-opening next month, but its aging infrastructure still needs to be addressed.
“We really wanted to make this happen for our community, but it’s an interim solution only,” said Dave Schaller, community services manager at the agency, where the city’s only therapeutic swimming pool closed last December, due to a leak caused by a break in the main drain.
The leak has since been fixed, and the drain re-routed, said Schaller, noting that the pool was recently filled as a test run.
The operating system is working, he said, and the wading pool, which was also closed, is now open.
Fall registration begins in early September, with programs set to start later that month. Pathways has also created a new online registration system.
This was just phase one, Schaller stressed, adding that phase two will be to replace the pool’s aging infrastructure – pegged at a cost of $1.5 million – including long-term upgrades to the pool’s pumps, heating and cooling system, deck flooring and change rooms.
In May, a fundraising campaign was launched, with a goal to have the pool up and running by September. Now, the agency is planning a long-term campaign for the pool’s infrastructure concerns, Schaller said.
“We are preparing to launch the new capital campaign by the new year.”
He stressed the need for community support, or they risk shutting down permanently. Community and individual fundraising opportunities will be released with the new campaign.
Before closing, the 140,000-litre salt-water pool served about 11,000 children, seniors and community members annually.
The pool’s features – including accessible lift systems that transfer people from a wheelchair into a pool chair, and from a wheelchair directly into the pool – have been beneficial to those living with physical and intellectual disabilities, Schaller said. The change areas have small private rooms to provide additional supports for caregivers, and one room includes a large adult change table.
The therapeutic pool was built in 1987, and most pools have an operating life of 20 to 30 years, he said.
“We want this community gem open and available to all.”